Flight schedules went haywire after the Delhi airport was suddenly shrouded by dense fog on Thursday morning. The new runway also could not be used in the morning due to a technical fault, which added to the chaos.
More than 200 flights were delayed and many were affected after the airport packed up for more than two hours.
The Indira Gandhi International Airport witnessed dense fog from 6.03 am on Thursday, but the worst period was between 7.30 am and 9.40 am when no flight operation took place due to very poor visibility.
More than 200 flights, both departure and arrivals, were delayed by two to five hours on Thursday morning. More than 20 flights were cancelled, 103 were rescheduled and 22 flights were diverted.
The new runway could not be used till 10.20 am after the air traffic controllers stopped getting data on exact visibility at the runway. Without the data, sent by runway visual range (RVR) measuring machines near the runway, the runway couldn’t be used.
The met department said there was no fault with the RVR measuring machines but the feed from the machines was not reaching the ATC tower. The department said the fault has been rectified.
The airport witnessed a sudden drop in visibility after the RVR, which was around 1,500 metres before 7 am, suddenly dropped to 75 metres by 7.45 am. R.K. Jenamani, Director-in-charge of the airport Met unit said similar spells of dense fog could be experienced again. “Such dense fog for a shorter period could be experienced in the coming days,” he said.
With the airport shut down for more than two hours, passengers were at the receiving end. For S. Singh, a travel agent, it was a long and tortuous day. “I left for the Bangalore airport at 4 am but my Jet Airways flight to Delhi took off two hours late and I reached here at 11.30 am,” he said. “Now my connecting flight to Jodhpur has been delayed by three hours,” he said.
“We had to wait inside the plane for hours before it took off from Bangalore. We reached Delhi at 1.30 pm instead of 10.30 am and that too after the plane hovered for a long time before landing,” said Navya, another passenger.