The drizzle, squalls and thunderstorms witnessed in the Capital in the last few days have brought the mercury down and given some respite to Delhiites from the scorching heat. The ‘pleasant’ weather, however, is giving a tough time to air passengers at the Delhi airport.
The frequency of squalls and thunderstorms in the last 15 days this month — which affects landing and takeoff of aircraft — has resulted in many flight disruptions. Though the number of diversions, aborted takeoffs and ‘go arounds’ this summer has not been as high as last season, the figure of just diversions has already crossed 20.The frequency of thunderstorms and squalls is usually the highest in May and June and account for 60 per cent of annual storms in Delhi, with May witnessing an average frequency of seven squalls.
On Tuesday, the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) witnessed five flight diversions, one go around (when an aircraft is unable to land, takes a circle and comes back to land again) and one aborted take off. Apart from diversions, the airport has seen a large number of goarounds in the last 15 days.
Squalls make it difficult for pilots to land or take off aircraft as the sudden rise in wind speed and change in direction disturbs the flight path after the flight position has been taken.
“Thunderstorms and squalls are the most-dangerous condition to land an aircraft and even aircraft that are navigating get affected due to severe turbulence, lightening and icing on the aircraft’s surface,” said a senior official of a full-cost carrier.
“The reason that so many diversions occur in this period is the presence of the dangerous cumulonimbus clouds and frequent change in direction of wind,” said RK Jenamani, director-in-charge, IGIA met unit.
“A thunderstorm brings wind from all directions and even though storms in May and June remain for small durations, even 20 minutes of such weather can result in huge disruptions,” he said.