Staff Reporter

Claim to have solution to reducing air congestion during fog

NEW DELHI: The two fog-free mornings in the Capital over the weekend might have given air passengers and Delhi airport officials some breathing space, but some private airlines claim they have a solution to reducing air congestion even on the foggiest morning without resorting to CAT III B procedures.

Their suggestion: change the "restrictive'' low take-off minima -- the visibility for normal operations -- which was issued in a circular by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) a few years ago. "Things have changed since 1999. The level of training has also gone up. We want that the low take-off minima be brought to international norms. We have written to the DGCA and they have reacted quite positively," said J.S. Dhillon of SpiceJet on Friday.

Apart from changing restrictive policies, it was also important to build up infrastructure so that airports around the Capital were also made CAT II-compliant. "It will help if Jaipur and Lucknow are also made CAT II compliant. We have also written to ask the Government to consider making Agra and Gwalior airports available during this time,'' he said.

This request to the Government to reduce to the restrictive low take-off minima has been forwarded by private airlines under the banner of Federation of Indian Airlines.

"At the moment only one runway at Delhi airport can be used for CAT III B. If the other runway is made CAT II, then it will also help," said Capt. Dhillon.

With many more airlines jumping on to the CAT II bandwagon, SpiceJet claims it is the first low-cost airline to achieve this purpose.