Heavy fog delays many flights at Delhi airport

Saturday, December 25, 2010

NEW DELHI - Many international and domestic flights were Saturday delayed by several hours due to fog for the first time this winter at the Indira Gandhi International Airport here, an official said.

“Due to foggy conditions around the runway, many international and domestic flights were delayed by two to three hours in the early morning,” a Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) official told IANS.

In all, 11-12 flights which were either supposed to depart or land were affected. These included flights from Frankfurt, London and other international destinations.

Fog, which descended in the wee hours, caused the general visibility to drop below the required level of 50 metres, forcing the airport authorities to implement the low visibility procedures (LVP).

“Fog first appeared at 1.30 a.m. when visibility was at 700 metres, remaining like that till 4.30 a.m. At around 7.30 a.m., the visibility fell to below the 50 metres mark,” an India Meteorological Department (IMD) official said.

The DIAL official said the technologically superior CAT (category) IIIB ILS (instrument landing system), which allows compliant aircraft and trained pilots to land even when the runway visibility is at 50 metres, could not cope with the foggy condition below that level.

The capital, which experiences heavy fog from the third week of December to early February, till Friday had not experienced any significant fog this month, according to the IMD.

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