Heavy fog disrupts flights, trains in Delhi

Sunday, December 26, 2010

NEW DELHI - Heavy fog disrupted flight and train schedules in the capital, leaving thousands of passengers stranded in the bitter cold at the international airport and railway station Sunday.

A thick blanket of fog enveloped the capital, bringing visibility to near zero. The general visibility at the main and new runways at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport was less than 50 metres, leading to delays, diversions and cancellations of several flights, an airport official said.

About 15 domestic flights from Delhi were cancelled and 12 international flights, mostly scheduled to depart late Saturday and early Sunday, were rescheduled.

Seven international flights coming to the national capital were delayed by up to five hours, the authorities said.

Passengers at the IGI airport complained about mismanagement and lack of information.

“My flight to Jaipur was scheduled at 9 a.m. and when I reached the airport at 6.30 a.m. I was told the flight has been cancelled due to dense fog. I think the airline authorities have a duty to inform passengers about delays and cancellations,” said Rajat Kumar, a software professional.

Many passengers kept waiting at the airport for hours without any information about their flights.

“There are no arrangements to inform passengers about flight delays. We have been waiting since 6 a.m. and have no clue about my flight to Mumbai that was earlier scheduled to take off at 8 a.m.,” said an angry Sushmita Kulkarni.

Several domestic flights were also cancelled including those to Lucknow, Leh, Srinagar, Jaipur, Kullu, Amritsar, Mumbai, Patna, Chandigarh and Goa.

On Saturday night, few international Air India flights to New York, Chicago and Toronto were delayed after visibility dropped.

The flights, which were scheduled to depart between 1.30 a.m. to 3.30 a.m., were rescheduled to 11.30 a.m.

Fog also affected over two dozen trains bound to and from New Delhi Railway Station.

Weather officials, however, said the skies would remain clear later during the day.

The minimum temperature Sunday was 7 degrees Celsius, one notch below the average for this time of the season. The maximum temperature will be around 20 degrees Celsius, the weather official said.

The coldest day of the season in Delhi so far was Dec 22 with a minimum temperature of 5.2 degrees.

The capital saw its first foggy day of the season Saturday.

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