The IGI airport witnessed the New Year’s first fog on Monday.
The unusual change in weather surprised many who were waiting to receive their relatives and friends. Tuesday is predicted to be worse.
The unexpected fog that became dense suddenly after 10am on Monday and remained for a couple of hours, affected about 100 flights, including nine diversions and eight cancellations. Flights were delayed by one to five hours.
The Air India flight from Bangkok AI333 was diverted to Lucknow due to dense fog at IGIA. Other international flights from places such as London, Bangkok and Dhaka were diverted to Mumbai and Lucknow .
The Met department predicted a gloomier Tuesday with very dense fog at the airport. The fog is expected to be so bad that the airport might have to shut down operations for some time.
“The fog prediction will hold if the wind pattern does not change as the moisture and temperature are expected to be favourable and the cloud cover is gone,” said RK Jenamani, director– in– charge, IGIA, MeT office.
The Met department had predicted fog at the airport on Monday, but it suddenly became dense with near zero visibility after 10am. Runway 29 was badly affected even though main runway 28 saw less fog and remained functional.
Flights also hovered around for sometime before they could land at the airport. “My Air Asia flight from hovered in the air for almost half-an-hour before it could land,” said Ravi, a passenger.
Domestic flights from smaller centres such as Shimla and Vishakhapatnam were also diverted. Kingfisher airlines flight from Shimla IT 4354 to Delhi was diverted to Chandigarh. Spice Jet flight SG 224 from Bangalore to Delhi was diverted to Jaipur.
Many flights from small cities such as Dehradun were delayed by more than three hours due to dense fog in northern India.