The season's worst fog on Friday morning hit flight operations severely at Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA).
The dense fog forced operations to shut for more than four hours, affecting the movement of 350 flights. Thousands of passengers were stranded inside their aircraft.
But brace yourself for a similar hassled weekend, if you are flying. The Met department has predicted that the conditions are likely to remain the same over the weekend. It has also predicted that rain is likely to hit the Capital on Monday, which is likely to improve the fog situation.
"An active western disturbance is likely to affect the Delhi region from February 4-6, which will result in rain and cloudy conditions. The dense fog conditions over Delhi will significantly improve only in the next 48 hours," said RK Jenamani, director of IGIA Met department.
Claiming that Friday's dense fog was the worst so far this season, the Met department said rain will improve the situation.
"Dense fog started engulfing the airport around 4am and lifted only at 10:45am. We had to close operations at runway 29 from 4:15am but till 6am flights operated from runway 28. Around this time, the visibility dipped to 50m at runway 28, forcing us to shut operations completely," an airport official said.
Passengers had a horrid time as no flight was able to take off or land till 10:30am. Most passengers were either stuck in air or were made to sit inside the plane. The worst-affected were those coming from different destinations as their flights had to be diverted to nearby airports. Of the 19 flights diverted on Friday morning, 15 went to Jaipur while the rest were directed to Ahmedabad and Mumbai.
Apart from that, 19 flights were cancelled and over 300 delayed for nearly two to 12 hours.
"The runway visibility of all three runways at Delhi airport remained consistently below 50-75m till 10:45am. Due to this, operations were severely affected, with the airport almost remaining closed from 6am to 10.45am," Jenamani added.
On January 14, Delhi airport had witnessed almost a similar situation when dense fog had forced 11 flight cancellations and 21 diversions to nearby airports.