Flights out of and to Mumbai, especially in the busiest Delhi-Mumbai sector continued to be disrupted on Wednesday even though visibility improved at the Delhi airport in the morning. Since early morning till 10.30 am only 30 take offs and landing could be made possible at the Delhi airport thus nearly 35 aircraft from different airlines got struck throwing their entire schedule out of gear.
For example an Indian Airlines flight from Delhi that was scheduled to arrive in Mumbai at 8.25 am finally landed two hours later. In the morning, though originating flights took off with a delay of nearly one hour, in the later part of the day it translated into rescheduling of flights across all sectors. Out of Mumbai there were average delay of about 1 hour and around 40 flights were rescheduled.
Low Visibility Procedures (LVP) that were put in place at 11.40 pm on Tuesday at the Delhi airport due to dense fog got lifted at 6.38 am on Wednesday as speedy wind blowing from the north west drove away the fog making flight movements possible.
But despite this airlines bogged by huge backlog of passengers as well as delayed flight take offs due to poor weather conditions battled out through out the day to keep their operations close to normal. Passengers at the Mumbai airport had also to bear the consequential flight delays and some were found roaming aimlessly as their flights had to be rescheduled due to unavailability of aircraft.
An Indian Airlines flight scheduled for departure at 6.00 pm for Delhi was rescheduled at 9.00 pm while an air Deccan flight to Delhi was rescheduled to 10.20 pm from its scheduled departure at 6.00 pm from Mumbai.
Amidst uncertainly, some passengers were seen arriving at the airport two hours in advance to hear from the airline that the flight has been rescheduled. "I am from New York. I don't known what time the flight will take off or whether I can reach Delhi today. Such flight delay is shocking," said Sapan Kumar (20s) who was at the airport to catch an Air Deccan flight to Delhi.
Those who came from Delhi were equally bitter. Swati Pai (28), pregnant for five months had to struggle at Delhi for two days to catch her Go Air flight to Mumbai. "I travelled alone. There was lot of difficulty in finally coming to Mumbai after repeated cancellation of the flight I was booked in."
But there were some cheerful faces. Another person who returned from Goa along with his family from the New Year vacation on a Jet Airways flight said there was no problem though the flight was delayed by 20 minutes. "You know Jet is always on time," he said. But across other sectors Jet had to reschedule 20 flights due to consequential delays.
Though the domestic sector was badly affected, airlines operating in the international sector operated smoothly. On Tuesday night, due to dense fog in Delhi, three international and three domestic flights were diverted to Mumbai. But there was no diversion reported on Wednesday.
While nine flights were cancelled from Delhi across all sectors, there was no major cancellation from Mumbai. Indian Airlines had to press into service an A-300 aircraft with larger capacity to clear some of its backlog. In the late afternoon there was so much pressure at the Mumbai airport that flights were taking off in every two minutes while one landing was allowed in between.