Flight delayed? You may not be able to deboard as CISF denies reverse entry at Delhi airport
Often after boarding, when the visibility at Delhi’s IGIA dips and flights cannot take off, passengers are made to wait inside the aircraft which remains halted at the taxiway.delhi Updated: Dec 15, 2017 10:24 IST
Passengers taking flights from Delhi during this fog season may have to spend hours inside the aircraft due to poor visibility as the The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) have said no to ‘reverse entry’.
Often after boarding, when the visibility at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) dips and flights cannot take off, passengers are made to wait inside the aircraft which remains halted at the taxiway. It often takes 4-5 hours for the visibility to improve and passengers get uncomfortable inside the aircraft. Some even complain of breathlessness and suffocation in the closed space. To avoid the yearly inconvenience, the Delhi airport operator had requested to allow reverse entry, where passengers can be brought back to the terminal from the boarding gate.
But the CISF said it will be “a security concern as passengers will get mixed”. “Once the passenger leaves the departure terminal, they cannot enter from the boarding gate. Airside of the airport is a sanitised, high-security space and any equipment can be handed over to the passenger between the boarding gate and plane. We have our reservations and security cannot be compromised,” said a CISF officer, requesting anonymity.
According to the weather department, dense fog is expected after December 17 and this season, more disruptions are expected in January.
In a recent meeting, CISF said that the only way is to bring passengers back to arrival and make them go through the security check again. It also suggested the airport operator to construct a temporary structure at the airside, where passengers could wait in case of a flight delay.
“No other activity at the airside is possible during fog season,” DIAL CEO, I Prabhakara Rao told Hindustan Times, without commenting on their proposal for the reverse entry.
Delhi airport has to operate under CAT conditions as soon as runway visibility dips below 1,000 metres. CAT-I, CAT-II and CAT-III allows flights to operate in low visibility but for take-off, the runway visibility has to be at least 125 metres.
“Sometimes fog sets in after the passengers board. If it stays for two hours, the passenger gets stuck as it also leads to backlog. At that time, passenger suffers the most,” said an airport official.