This winter is turning out to be one of the foggiest in the last few decades as far as the Indira Gandhi International Airport is concerned.
The month of February has already equaled a previous record — maximum fog hours in the last 10 years.
Generally, the worst fog period at the IGI Airport is between December 10 and January 31 but occasional spells of dense fog are not uncommon in February, and even March. The average duration of fog, however, is just six hours. "This February, IGIA has already witnessed 26 hours of dense fog," said R.K. Jenamani, director-in-chief of IGIA's met unit.
After 2000, this is the first time IGIA has seen such a long duration of dense fog in February. "This is because of a fall in temperature and moisture," he said.
Over 50 flights were delayed after dense fog descended at the airport early on Monday morning. A total of six flights, all international arrivals, were diverted to other airports; 16 domestic flights were rescheduled and some cancelled.
Visibility started dipping at 3.40 a.m. on Monday and by 4.47 a.m., low-visibility procedures had to be implemented after the runway visual range went down to 125 metres at the new runway. Low-visibility conditions remained for more than four-and-a half-hours till 9.30 a.m.
A total 72 flights operated in the fog period, including 31 movements in CAT III-A and B conditions. "Most of the flights that were affected were international ones because there are not too many scheduled domestic flights before 6 a.m. Also, visibility improved by the time when the airport saw peak domestic air traffic," said an airport official.
This winter has already seen 166 hours of dense fog and is inching closer to the record of 170 hours in 2003-2004. Spells of fog are expected till March 10 and this winter could turn out to be one of the foggiest in the last 40 years, Jenamani said.