This winter, Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) hit the headlines for repeated disruptions in flight services due to dense fog, resulting in passengers getting stranded for hours. In the months of December and January, more than 600 flight disruptions were reported.
This has spurred the Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) to reach out to scientists at Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR) for a solution. On Sunday, the two organisations signed an MoU to conduct a study on atmospheric conditions in the vicinity of the airport, in the presence of Bharat Ratna awardee C.N.R. Rao.
The study is aimed at coming up with a mechanism to predict the onset, intensity and dissipation of fog. A team led by Professor K.R. Sreenivas will conduct the research for a period of 40 months. Prof. Sreenivas told The Hindu that it requires two seasons for observation and, in the third season, predictions will be provided to the BIAL on the onset of fog.
Prof. Sreenivas said, “BIAL is looking for an advance notice on visibility and fog occurrence. If we can inform them four to five hours in advance, it will help in planning operations, informing airlines, ground handing and so on. For example, a Bengaluru-bound flight from Delhi could delay the departure if informed in advance about poor visibility in the city, instead of coming here and being diverted to other airports.”
He further said, “The main focus of the study is the impact of dust particles in cooling. We are going to install several equipment out of which two important devices are to measure the dust particles in the atmosphere, and a remote device to assess the temperature and humidity profile up to one kilometre.”
Hari Marar, MD and CEO of BIAL, said that the outcome of the study will facilitate flight planning and scheduling. He said that the second runway will be operational in October and will be CAT III B compliant, which will enable operation of flights even if visibility is reduced. However, fog can still significantly affect operations.