Dense fog is back to haunt air travellers at the Delhi airport. The first day of the dense fog at Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) affected the flight operations as nearly 100 flights were delayed and four had to be diverted to nearby airports as the runway visibility dropped to nearly zero in the morning.
Passengers planning a vacation around Christmas may have to face delays as the Met department has predicted dense fog for the next few days.
"Delhi airport had dense fog from 3:30 am to 10 am. Though the situation started improving but shallow fog covered the airport and city throughout the day. Dense fog is likely to envelope the city again by midnight. By 3am, we are expecting the visibility to be below 50m. The fog is likely to be intense and stay for longer period. On December 25, dense fog late at night and early morning is expected," said RK Jenamani, director in-charge, IGIA Met department.
Sources said that for a short period of time on Sunday morning, the operations were suspended at Delhi airport. "At 7am, the runway visibility suddenly fell from 900m to 75m.
While runway 29 was completely shut for two hours, (7am to 9am), at runway 28 only arrivals took place place as the visibility was 75m. The visibility has to be above 125m for the departure," an official said.
As flight departures were suspended for over two hours, there was a huge backlog and passengers were stranded for as long as 10 hours.
Even the arriving flights were delayed by two hours to eight hours. "It was a very sudden transition as till yesterday; there was no fog in Delhi," Jenamani added.
"On normal days, Delhi airport can handle 75 flight movements per hour but during fog, the capacity decreases. For safety, we also double the distance between two movements," SB Sharma, joint general manager (Air Traffic Management) said.