Air travellers, keep your fingers crossed — conditions are ripe for dense fog to set in this weekend.
Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) is already witnessing foggy mornings. Although flights were not disrupted on Monday, general visibility at the airport dropped to 500 metres and the runway visual range (RVR) to 800 metres, at 8 am. RVR is how far the pilot of a landing aircraft can see the runway.
“All normal conditions responsible for the setting of dense fog are present in the atmosphere,” said RK Jenamani, director-in-charge of IGI Met department.
“We have predicted dense fog in the second week of December. There is no strong wind present to blow away fog, and we expect the temperature to come down soon.”
Dense fog normally descends upon the airport between December 10 and January 31. Last winter, it set in a day early, on December 9.
Airlines and the airport authorities, however, seem unperturbed by the Met’s prediction this time.
“The airport has a new domestic departure terminal 1D, which is far more spacious than its perennially crammed predecessor 1B, and can accommodate all stranded passengers of fog-disrupted flights,” said a spokesman of the private airport developer Delhi International Airport Ltd. (DIAL).
IGIA also has two runways equipped with CAT III-B instrument landing system, which helps pilots to land aircraft in near-zero visibility.
There is a hitch, though. With the airport handling close to 720 flights daily, passengers can expect air traffic congestion during mornings. “During dense fog, more separation has to be kept between landing aircraft, which causes delays,” a senior air traffic controller, who did not wish to be named, told HT.