Cancellation of flights on R-Day won’t hit flyers as ATC creates extra slots in permitted period
Though, 40-50 flights are expected to be cancelled per day, airlines have said that most of the passengers have been adjusted in other flights. Earlier, 100 flights were expected to get cancelled per day.delhi Updated: Jan 17, 2018 23:30 IST
In a big relief to flyers, the Delhi airport has managed to reduce the number of flight cancellations due to the restrictions for Republic Day preparations.
Earlier, the Delhi airport operator was unable to give extra slots but as the Air Traffic Controller has agreed to make room, passengers are expected to face less inconvenience than predicted.
Starting January 19 every year, airspace over Delhi is closed for 60-90 minutes for rehearsals for the air flypast that is a regular feature of the Republic Day parade. Hindustan Times had reported on January 6 that though previously, flights scheduled in this window used to be rescheduled, but this year, thanks to congestion at the Delhi airport, the airport operator says it will be unable to reschedule the flights by providing alternative slots.
Approximately 15,000 passengers a day were likely to be affected by the shutdown.
Though, 40-50 flights are expected to be cancelled per day, airlines have said that most of the passengers have been adjusted in other flights. Earlier, 100 flights were expected to get cancelled per day.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) has imposed restrictions on flying between January 19 and January 26, barring January 25 and airspace over Delhi will be closed between 10.35 am and 12.15 pm.
A meeting with airlines and ATC was held with Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL), the operator of the IGI airport, and it was estimated that about 450 flights will be cancelled during the period.
“The ATC has agreed to start the operation 15 minutes before the restriction is lifted. The air force will give us the exact timings, but usually the preparation ends before the scheduled time. We will coordinate in real time and accommodate more flights. Airlines operate multiple flights to one destination and passengers have been adjusted in other flights. We are not expecting many disruptions,” said a DIAL official, requesting anonymity.
While Air India said that they have cancelled just one flight while others have been adjusted, Spicejet said they are not cancelling any flight.
“Delhi handles about 70 flights an hour across airlines, and our flights will be proportionately impacted. We are offering free change or cancellation with full refund for flights scheduled to depart or arrive in Delhi between that time,” said a spokesperson of Vistara. IndiGo did not offer any comment.
Delhi ATC handles 67 flights in an hour and has promised to enhance the capacity on the restriction days. Every year, DIAL used to adjust the flights in other slots, but this year due to congestion, the airport operator has said they won’t be able to adjust extra flights.
International flights are allowed to reschedule. On an average, Delhi airport handled 1,350 flights every day in 2017, around 150 more per day than the previous year.