Fog hits Delhi again; disrupts air, rail traffic

BACK AGAIN: The morning scene at Indira Gandhi International airport in Delhi on Saturday where United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi was to lay the foundation stone for the new airport building complex.   | Photo Credit: Photo: V. V. Krishnan

Staff Reporter

With the runway visibility less than 50 metres, 14 flights diverted; several trains running late

NEW DELHI: Dense fog on Saturday disrupted air and rail traffic in the Capital with 14 flights being diverted and a dozen trains running behind schedule.

Making a comeback after a long gap, the fog reduced runway visibility range at the airport to less than 50 metres shortly after 8 a.m.

And while this was the beginning of a new chapter in aviation history for Delhi airport with the foundation-stone laying ceremony of the new integrated terminal being held during the day by United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi, for passengers coming to the Capital it was the same old story of congestion as flights flew well behind schedule. However, there were no cancellations during the period.

"The low visibility procedures were implemented at 8-17 a.m. and were in place till 9-50 a.m. No flights operated during this period and 12 domestic flights were diverted to Jaipur, Lucknow, Ahmedababad, Mumbai and Indore. Two international flights were diverted to Mumbai," said an airport official.

Five aircraft requested for "Follow-Me-Vehicles" during the low visibility period to be guided to the parking bays. An Air India flight that touched down at 6-08 a.m. was the last international flight to land at the airport before the fog did.

The fog also played spoilsport with rail traffic. A dozen trains ran up to five hours behind schedule because of fog. "Trains coming from Uttar Pradesh were running behind schedule as there was heavy fog there. Trains were delayed by one hour to five hours," said a Northern Railway spokesperson.

Among those affected was the Mahakaushal Express from Nizammudin to Jabalpur that ran over an hour late. The Sabhawana Express to Muzaffarpur was also late by about three hours. Over a dozen trains were partially cancelled due to poor visibility.

These included the Janata Express and the Bareilly-Mughal Sarai Express.