Delhi woke up to the season’s first fog on Friday morning as low visibility delayed over a hundred flights and forced the Railways to tinker with the schedule of several long-distance trains leaving the city.
Departures at the Indira Gandhi International Airport were suspended for about two hours in the morning and hundreds of passengers were stuck for as long as four hours with visibility between 7.40am and 10.30am dipping way below the 125 metres required for takeoff. Three flights were diverted to nearby airports.
“The visibility at IGIA has improved now since early morning. Only departure flights were disrupted between 4:14am to 10:08am due to RVR below the required Low Visibility Take Off (LVTO) minima,” said a Delhi airport spokesperson.
The minimum temperature on Friday morning was at 12 degrees, five above normal. Met officials said the dense fog was due to a combination of high humidity and low wind speed.
“The cloud cover over the city on Thursday made conditions conducive for dense fog. We were expecting it and fog could also be seen on Saturday morning,” said RK Jenamani, director, IGI Airport Met centre.
Delhi Weather Update: All departures out of Delhi are still affected due to low visibility. We'll keep you posted once departures >>— IndiGo (@IndiGo6E) January 8, 2016
Railway officials said 56 trains were running late and the scheduled departure times of 19 others have been altered.
“We are updating details on the website and public are being informed through the helpline numbers,” said Neeraj Sharma, chief public relations officer.
Sharma said that no trains were cancelled on Friday.
As the delays piled up, hundreds of disgruntled passengers began tweeting about the hassles they were facing at the airport and airline officials were seen doing their best to pacify them.
“Entire city is enveloped with dense fog. Travel safe Delhi,” Delhi Police tweeted on Friday morning.
The Capital is generally enveloped in a thick sheet of fog for several days in December and January, wreaking havoc on train and flight schedules.
But the city is going through its warmest winter in eight years. The maximum temperature has so far hovered around 23 degree Celsius, quite high for this time of the year.