Under fire from all quarters for not being able to forecast the dense fog conditions that wreaked havoc at the airport and on city roads, the Met department on Monday blamed the airport operators for not displaying its weather data for the public.
Ajit Tyagi, director general of India Meteorological Department (IMD), said the Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) and airline operators need to “introspect” for not giving out sufficient information about visibility and subsequent flight delays to people. “The IMD has been providing every minute runway visual range information on its website. Why can’t DIAL display the information on the screens at the airport?” he asked.
“We have been providing the forecast. However, if 40 domestic flights still had to be diverted, the operators need to introspect,” he said, adding that the Met department has been asking DIAL to display weather and visibility information for quite some time now, but the project has run into rough weather. “If this information is made available, 50% of the problems will be solved,” Tyagi said.
Better fog forecast still two years away: While the Met department has been generating weather forecast on real-time basis based on actual data, it still lags way behind its global counterparts as far as upgrading its fog-forecasting technology is concerned.
By its own admission, it is still two years away from installing modern technologies like the automatic aviation weather decision support system, which are in use at international airports in Paris, Singapore and Tokyo.
“Since the project is still in the planning phase, it will take at least two years for it to rollout,” said B Mukhopadhyay, deputy director general, IMD.
This system will have microwave radio meter to automatically analyse air humidity, a wind profiler to gauge the direction and speed of vertical wind and terminal weather radar placed at the runway.
“The project will cost R150 crore and the funding has already been received. We will now have to look for suppliers of equipment globally, as there is no provider in India,” said RK Jenamani, director in charge, Met office, IGI Airport.
Meanwhile, reacting to the Met chief’s allegations, DIAL officials said they will soon display the information. “The information will come up in a day or two on the screens at the airport,” said PS Nair, CEO, airport operations, DIAL.