On one hand this winter has been one of the warmest, on the other it is turning out to be the foggiest in the past many years.
The Delhi airport has already witnessed nearly 130 hours of dense fog. Apart from passengers getting stranded for hours, airlines too have lost money to the tune of Rs 10 crore, thanks to fog.
Last winter, Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport saw just 10 hours of dense fog, which was the lowest in many years. This winter, it has already witnessed 128 hours of dense fog, spread over 10 days in December 2008 and 12 days in January 2009.
The number of flights delayed due to fog this winter runs into a couple of thousand and an unprecedented number of flights — 120 — were diverted to other airports. And the fog season is not officially over yet.
The last time IGI Airport saw such dense fog was in 2004. “This is the first time after the 2004-05 winter that IGIA has witnessed more than 100 hours of dense fog,” said R.K. Jenamani, Director-in-charge, IGIA met unit.
“The wind has been very calm throughout this period and there have been western disturbances at frequent intervals, which led to fog.”
Airlines too have lost a lot of money due to fog after nearly 120 flights were diverted and aircrafts had to hover above the airport due to congestion. “We lose Rs 3 lakh for each hour of extra flying. A plane is diverted to Jaipur due to fog means one hour of flying and coming back to Delhi and one and a half hours if it is sent to Lucknow airport,” said an official of a full cost airline, who didn’t wish to be named.
“Also, almost all arrivals during the fog period have to hover about one hour above the airport before they land due to congestion. This leads to unnecessary burning of fuel and add to cost,” he said.
Going by the figure of planes diverted, airlines have lost about Rs 5 crore just on that account.