Large-scale disruption of flights took place at the Indira Gandhi International Airport here on Sunday as dense fog cloaked the capital. A total of 38 flights were cancelled and 42 flights, including 14 international, were diverted as the range of visibility remained below 50 metres.
The Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) said low visibility procedures had to be implemented for over 17 hours, from 7.40 p.m. on Saturday till 1 p.m. on Sunday; 326 flights were operated under low visibility procedure. Flights were diverted to Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Kolkata, Lucknow and Chennai.
Twelve domestic arrival, 23 domestic departure, one international arrival and two international departure flights were cancelled. Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways, Air France and British Airways were some of the affected international airlines.
Jet Airways cancelled its Mumbai-Delhi and Hyderabad-Delhi flights, while its flight from Hong Kong had to be diverted to Mumbai before landing in Delhi. The airline's Singapore-Delhi flight was diverted to Kolkata.
Air India rescheduled three of its flights to New York, Chicago and Toronto. Airlines also cancelled their flights to Lucknow, Jaipur, Kullu, Mumbai, Leh, Amritsar, Patna, Chandigarh, Goa and Srinagar.
The massive disruption of flights caused a great deal of inconvenience to passengers, who tried to book seats on other flights.
A passenger who arrived by a GoAir flight from Bangalore said: “Our flight, which was to depart at 8.20 a.m. from the Bangalore airport, left only at 9.40 a.m. owing to the fog in Delhi. On arrival, the aircraft had to circle over the Delhi airport for quite some time. Thus, we could land only at 1 p.m.”
Arrangements for passengers
DIAL has made a host of arrangements to mitigate the inconvenience to passengers during the fog season. At Terminal-3 and Terminal 1-D, extra help-desks have been set up to assist and provide information to passengers. Food and beverage arrangements are in place for travellers whose flights are disrupted.
The round-the-clock airport call centre (0124-3376000) can be contacted for updated flight information. Live flight status can be obtained from the Interactive Voice Response System and the airport website www.newdelhiairport.in.
Travellers hoping for a breather on Monday are in for disappointment as the Indian Meteorological Department has said that visibility at the airport is expected to reach CAT III conditions from 10 p.m. on Sunday and continue till 9 a.m. on Monday.
CAT III fog occurs when the runway's visual range falls to less than 50 metres.
Train operations too were affected by the fog. Twenty-three trains from the city were rescheduled, 70 bound for Delhi were running late. One train from Delhi and two bound for Delhi were cancelled.