Delhi to witness dense fog from December 17, situation may worsen in January
The meteorological office has said the situation at the Indira Gandhi International Airport might worsen in January, a month that records heavy fog which reduces visibility.Updated: Dec 08, 2017 07:24 IST
Flight schedules could be disrupted in the national capital as the weather department has predicted the onset of dense winter fog after December 17.
The meteorological office said on Thursday the situation at the Indira Gandhi International Airport might worsen in January, a month that records heavy fog which reduces visibility.
The weather has spared Delhi so far this year as no flight disruptions were reported this winter because of low visibility. Scientists said the onset of fog was delayed by strong winds whipped by cyclone Ockhi that hit the country’s western coast this month.
Last season, December and January registered almost equal hours — 62 and 63, respectively — of dense fog.
“Till December 7 last year, we had almost two weeks of dense fog. But this year, the situation is much better. We are not expecting major fog spells before December 17,” said RK Jenamani, director at the airport’s weather department.
The forecast says shallow fog in the plains of northern India between December 9 and 11, but it will not affect flight movements.
“Dense fog is not expected due to highly unsettled windy conditions at lower and mid levels of the atmosphere from two western disturbances. Between December 10 and 17, there will be an easterly wind pattern at many airports across north India, including Delhi,” Jenamani said.
Flights are affected when runway visibility dips below 500 metres. The airport has to operate under CAT conditions as soon as visibility dips below 1,000 metres. CAT-III allows flights to operate even when visibility is a mere 100 metres.
Airport officials said they are better equipped to handle low visibility this season in a new terminal opened recently.
Private airliner GoAir has shifted operations from Terminal 1(D) to T2. Indigo Airlines has moved court against the relocation, while SpiceJet is yet to take a call.
All domestic airlines operating from Terminal ID have to move one-third of their operations to T2 by January 1.
“Terminal 2 will be a big help for T1 as it will take some of its load. The new GPS-based navigational system for Follow-Me vehicles will help in effective guidance of aircraft in dense fog,” said I Prabhakara Rao, the CEO of Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL).
Since pilots have a limited view from the cockpit, the Follow-Me ground crew service is provided to facilitate aircraft movement.
Trained professionals are deputed for this service.