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Flights and trains hit hard by fog

MORNING ALARM: Fog all the way in Delhi on Thursday.

MORNING ALARM: Fog all the way in Delhi on Thursday.  

Staff Reporter

NEW DELHI: Flight operations and rail services were badly disrupted in and around the Capital on Thursday morning as thick fog enveloped the city and reduced visibility to less than 50 metres at some places, including Indira Gandhi International Airport.

The fog reduced visibility at the airport to almost zero at one time, forcing diversion of one international flight and five domestic flights. Starting 6-15 a.m., when thick fog descended on the airport, no flight was able to take off or land for over two hours. During this period, visibility at the airport was below 200 metres and low visibility procedures were activated.

The Muscat-Delhi Lufthansa flight was diverted to Ahmedabad at 7-07 a.m. when the runway visibility range was just 50 metres. The five domestic flights that were affected were Spice Jet from Ahmedabad to Delhi which was returned at 6-41 a.m.; the Mumbai-Delhi Blue Dart flight that was diverted to Jaipur at 6-42 a.m.; the Air Deccan Kolkata-Delhi flight that was returned at 7-12 a.m.; the Kolkata-Delhi Air Sahara flight which was sent to Lucknow at 7-13 a.m.; and a Bangalore-Delhi Air Deccan flight that was diverted to Mumbai at 8-13 a.m.

During the thick fog, the Airports Authority of India activated the CAT III B instrument landing system and provided "Follow Me'' service to four aircraft. An Indian Airlines flight from Delhi to Ahmedabad, a Kingfisher flight from Mumbai, and an Indian Airlines flight from Mumbai benefited from the service. An international flight of Indian Airlines coming via Jaipur also availed of the service.

The AAI said it was only after the departure of an Indian Airlines flight (IC 439) for Chennai at 9-26 a.m. that the flight operations became normal.

Rail services were also badly affected due to fog that engulfed several parts of North India. Northern Railway said as many as 19 trains were delayed by one to eight hours due to poor visibility.

Also, the departure of three trains from Delhi -- Gondwana Express to Bilaspur, Lichchavi Express to Muzaffarpur and Gondwana Express to Jabalpur -- was rescheduled due to poor visibility.

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