Both airlines and airport authorities were taken by surprise after dense fog descended at the Delhi airport on Friday morning, causing major flight disruptions.
Seven flights had to be diverted to other airports like Jaipur, Mumbai and Ahmedabad after visibility dropped to almost zero at the IGI Airport. All morning flights were got delayed by several hours.
Visibility started dropping early on Friday and by 4.30 am, general visibility had dropped to 200 metres.
Many international flights and early morning domestic flights were affected as there was near zero visibility between 5.30 am and 8.30 am. Visibility improved only after 10 am at the airport.
During this time, 160 flights were operated using the Instrument Landing System, which guides pilots to land in low visibility conditions. Out of these landings, 86 were operated in near zero visibility conditions.
Out of the airport’s three runways, the third runway 29/11 was the worse affected.
The met department had predicted a few days of ‘freak’ fog at the airport in November due to the slight rainfall the capital had witnessed recently.
"The dense fog on Friday is due to the impact of rainfall, that had resulted in accumulation of huge amount of moisture in the atmosphere,” said R K Jenamani, Director-in-Charge, IGI Airport met unit.
"Each winter, we witness a few days of such fog in November or even October," he said.
"Apart from the rain and the cloudy weather, other factors like calm wind, clear sky and the fall in night temperature to 15 degree Celsius helped in the formation of fog," he said.
The met department is not expecting similar dense fog conditions on Saturday but visibility might drop to 300 metres after 5 am.