Fog from Dec 20, IGI Airport gets ready

The Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) is gearing up for dense fog, expected to set in by December 20, as predicted by the India Meteorological Department (IMD). Fog conditions are expected to last 35 days and the airport likely to see 120 hours of fog.

"Fog usually affects flight operations in December and January. On an average, Delhi has 23 days of dense fog over two months. But with the preparations we have in place, fewer flights will be diverted in comparison to previous years," R K Jenamani, Director, IGIA (IMD) department.

According to Air Traffic Controller (ATC), delays are natural during the fog season as the capacity of runways is reduced by 40 per cent. "During normal days, Delhi airport can handle 75 flights per hour. But during the fog season, the capacity decreases. For safety reasons, we also double the distance between two flight movements," SB Sharma, Joint General Manager (Air Traffic Management) said.

A Collaborative Decision Making (CDM) committee has been formed comprising representatives from Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL), airlines and ATC.

"The CDM cell will be activated only during dense fog conditions and, with better coordination, inconvenience to passengers can be minimised" Sharma said.

DIAL has also implemented measures to ensure continuity of flight operations during low visibility. "We have taken adequate measures both at the terminal and on runways.

Additional helpdesks has been set up to guide passengers. We will set up 148 parking bays with guiding lights that can guide aircraft during low visibility," Marcel Hungerbuehler, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of DIAL, said.

The ATC will coordinate with pilots and keep them informed about the number of parking bays available at nearby airports. "In case of a diversion, the pilot must know whether parking facility is available at another airport. Flights coming from Metro like Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata have been briefed to consider Delhi's weather before take-off," Sharma said.

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