A blanket of thick fog enveloped the busy Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi on Sunday morning with visibility dropping to near zero and leading to delays, diversions and cancellation of 80 domestic and international flights.
While 38 flights were cancelled, 42, including 14 international flights, were diverted to Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Lucknow and Hyderabad, airport sources said.
The airport was closed for nearly two hours as visibility fell below 100 metres, they said.
"Low visibility procedure was enforced at the airport at 1940 hrs yesterday due to fog and is still in operation. Visibility improved after mid-day today with the fog partially clearing," an airport official said.
He said 223 flights have operated so far, including 130 using CAT-III B instrument landing system. Among the international flights affected included those from China Air, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways, Air France and British Airways.
Passengers were a harassed lot as many airlines delayed their departure due to dense fog. Flight delays have been between 2 and 5 hours, the sources said. Many of the flights have been rescheduled, they said.
As dense fog started to descend on the airport late last night, about 17 domestic and two international flights scheduled to arrive here were diverted to Jaipur, Ahmedabad and Lucknow.
Around seven international flights coming to the national capital were delayed by up to three to four hours, airport sources said.
Airlines cancelled their flights to Lucknow, Jaipur, Kullu, Mumbai, Leh, Amritsar, Patna, Chandigarh, Goa and Srinagar due to dense fog.
Last night, Air India rescheduled its flights to New York, Chicago and Toronto after visibility dropped below the accepted limit. The flights, which were scheduled to depart between 1.30 to 3.30 am, were rescheduled to 11.30 am.
The thick fog cover here had its cascading effect on operations at Mumbai airport with six halt flights between Delhi-Mumbai-Delhi being cancelled and a couple of flights diverted.