Gautam Mukherjee, a Sarojini Nagar resident, is a very unhappy man. He hasn’t slept well for the last eight days. Every night, he is unceremoniously pulled back from the edge of sleep by the sound of aircraft taking off.
Normally, aircraft take off from Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport and head towards Dwarka. However, for the last eight days, due to the changed wind direction, planes have been forced to take off towards NH-8.
Planes always take off and land facing the wind.
Delhi normally gets Westerly winds which come from the Dwarka side. This year, due to changed weather and wind conditions, Delhi is experiencing Easterly winds which flow from the opposite direction forcing the aircraft to take off towards NH-8 from runway 27/09.
After the planes take off, they now fly over R.K. Puram, Munirka, Safdarjung Enclave and Sarojini Nagar.
“After they take off, the aircraft can immediately turn right towards South but then they will come close to the flight path of aircraft landing at runway 29/11. They can’t turn left either since it is a no-fly zone (due to the presence of Rashtrapati Bhavan and PM’s residence),” said an airport official not wishing to be identified. “That is why they fly further and turn right from somewhere above AIIMS.”
“Last week’s thunderstorms have lowered the temperature in Delhi but Rajasthan is still experiencing high temperature. This creates a low pressure area and changes the wind direction,” said R.K. Jenamani, Director, IGIA met unit. “This is likely to continue in the coming days.”
“We are not used to such aircraft noise and it’s disturbing, especially for senior citizens,” said S.L. Watwani, a Safdarjung Enclave resident. “The noise is so deafening that it is difficult to even talk on the phone.”
Private airport operator Delhi International Airport Ltd. (DIAL) said it is talking to the RWAs of the neighbouring areas to resolve the issue.
“DIAL has procured hi-tech Aircraft Noise Monitoring System equipment from Germany to measure noise levels of aircraft in the runway’s approach and departure path,” a spokesman said.
“A mobile noise monitoring unit to measure the noise in the vicinity of the airport has also been procured, which monitors the noise of each aircraft. The data from these machines will help identify those aircraft which breach noise regulations,” he said.