The number of domestic travellers, who were delayed at airports across India, last month, almost tripled compared to October, according to data from the civil aviation ministry.
The data showed that more than 1 lakh domestic fliers experienced delays exceeding two hours in December last year, up from 63,527 in November. Almost two-third of the delays witnessed last month were directly or indirectly triggered by fog, the data stated. More than seven of the 10 flights cancelled in December were owing to unfavourable weather conditions.
“Fog-induced delays normally start from November and increase up to January every year,” said a senior civil aviation ministry official.
Around 65,140 of the fliers — more than half of those who faced long waits at airports — comprised Air India fliers, followed by 29,390 IndiGo fliers.
Officials, however, pointed out that better fog preparedness by airlines could have helped reduce the number of fog-affected air travellers, as compared to December 2014. December 2015 saw 1.05 lakh stranded fliers — a sharp fall from 1.64 lakh travellers in December 2014.
While budget carrier SpiceJet altered its flight schedule at fog-prone sectors, IndiGo got weather scientists on board. “IndiGo has a team of qualified and experienced meteorologists in its operations control centre who provide real-time weather forecast,” said a spokesperson.