New Delhi, January 16, 2024 : Delhi Airport has faced disruptions in its flight operations due to adverse weather conditions, with 30 flights experiencing delays and 17 cancellations, as reported by airport sources on January 16.
The issue primarily arose from a dense blanket of fog that enveloped Indira Gandhi International Airport on Sunday, causing low visibility. This led to 10 flights being diverted on January 14, resulting in subsequent cancellations and delays, causing inconvenience for passengers both at the airport and onboard.
On the following day, Monday, January 15, five more flights had to be diverted due to persistently unfavorable weather conditions.
To address the challenges posed by the weather, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia held a crucial meeting on January 15 with key officials, including the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), BCAS, and the Airport Authority of India (AAI). The focus was on enhancing preparedness for unforeseen incidents.
|January 16, 2024
|January 15, 2024
|January 14, 2024
Following this meeting, the DGCA issued Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for airlines to manage flight delays and cancellations effectively. The SOPs mandate airlines to publish real-time flight delay information on their websites, inform affected passengers in advance through SMS, WhatsApp, and email, and display updated information at airports for waiting passengers.
Appropriate sensitization of airline staff at airports is emphasized in the SOP, ensuring effective communication with passengers about flight delays.
Considering the ongoing fog season and adverse weather conditions, airlines are advised to proactively cancel flights expected to be delayed beyond three hours, aiming to prevent airport congestion and minimize passenger inconvenience.
In response to diversions during dense fog in late December, the DGCA took regulatory action, issuing show-cause notices to Air India and SpiceJet for not deploying pilots trained for low-visibility conditions. The aviation regulator is actively addressing this issue to ensure the safe operation of flights in adverse weather conditions.
CAT III-Enabled Fourth Runway Directive
To mitigate low visibility challenges, Delhi Airport’s operator, DIAL, has been directed to expedite the operationalization of the CAT III-enabled fourth runway. CAT III compliance allows flights to operate even in low-visibility conditions. Currently, Delhi Airport has three operational runways, with the fourth one undergoing CAT III compliance checks.
The urgent operationalization of the CAT III-enabled fourth runway has been requested to meet DGCA approvals. Data indicates that CAT III Runway RWY 11R/29L managed 30 landings and 1 takeoff during a four-hour period, highlighting its efficiency during adverse weather conditions.
In conclusion, stakeholders are working diligently to minimize the impact of fog on operations and passenger inconvenience. Civil Aviation Minister Scindia strongly emphasized the unacceptability of unruly passenger behavior during these challenging times.