Fog wreaks havoc on flight schedule, DGCA steps in

Perturbed over cancellation of a large number of flights in north India and resultant problems faced by passengers, aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Tuesday decided to set up a cell comprising its own officials and those of all Indian airlines to address the issue.

The decision was taken during a meeting between the new DGCA chief Prabhat Kumar and representatives of airlines, Airports Authority of India, Delhi's IGI Airport, the Met department and Central Industrial Security Force (CISF).

A total of 247 flights have been cancelled due to fog since December 17 last year, including 119 flights on a single day late last week.

The cell will monitor the fog situation daily and take quick decisions to help airlines clear the backlog of stranded passengers, official sources said.

The meeting also reviewed the deployment of pilots trained to operate the Instrument Landing System under Category III when the runway visibility range (RVR) falls to around 75 metres. Under CAT-II and CAT-I conditions, the RVR is around 150-200 metres and 550 metres respectively.

The airlines have already been instructed to deploy adequate number of CAT-III trained pilots to operate flights to and from Delhi during fog.

They have also been asked to reschedule flights of non-CAT III compliant aircraft such as turboprop ATRs, Q-400 and Canadian Regional Jets in this period.

The meeting took stock of the facilities airlines were providing to passengers to minimise inconvenience, including advance information about delays or cancellations and provision of food and beverages at such times.

On improvement of fog situation, the Air Traffic Control was also instructed to give priority to diverted flights.

ATC should sequence the aircraft and give clearance for take-off based on the start-up request to avoid congestion.

Meteorological information for passengers should be shown on Flight Information Display systems at the airport and it should be updated regularly, the sources said.

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