Fog hits Delhi airport operations 2nd day in a row, over 300 flights affected
Five domestic and seven international flights and 56 trains delayed due to zero visibilitydelhi Updated: Jan 01, 2018 23:30 IST
Dense fog continued to hit flight schedules for a second consecutive day at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport on Monday leaving thousands of passengers stranded for long hours on New Year’s. Around 300 flights were affected after the operations were suspended for five hours in the morning due to low visibility.
Hundreds of passengers were seen stranded outside boarding gates on Monday as officials said at least 29 flights were cancelled, one was diverted, while the rest were delayed. The situation was worse at Terminal 1 as it has already been operating beyond capacity and is in need of expansion.
The departure terminals, meanwhile, faced the larger share of the delays and congestion as low visibility forced take-offs to be halted for five hours.
Equipment at Delhi airports allow flights to land if runway visibility is above 75 metres, while at least 125 metres of visibility is needed for take-offs. As runway visibility hovered between 100m-125m for five hours on Monday morning, all departures between 6am and 11am had to be put on hold.
“The departure of all domestic and international flights was put on hold between 6am and 11am. Arrivals were happening intermittently,” said a Delhi airport official. “All three runways were in active use after 11am.”
As the departure of more and more flights was delayed, their passengers kept arriving at the airport leaving the terminals without seating space. Though flight operations resumed after 11am, almost all airlines reported delays throughout the day due to the backlog.
Several passengers were stranded with their flights delayed by as much as four hours.
Yogesh Kumar, 30, a native of Uttar Pradesh, was scheduled to board a flight to Pune at around 5pm on Monday. He had reached the airport in the afternoon after travelling overnight from Lucknow in a train. However, he learnt at the airport that his flight was delayed by over four hours.
“I reached the airport in the afternoon hoping to catch the flight in time. But, its departure time had changed. I came to know about the delay only after I checked the flight status on a screen at the airport. I had no option but to wait in the cold outside the terminal gate,” said Kumar.
Several passengers took to Twitter to vent their frustration. Some said that the airport staffs were being uncooperative, while others complained of getting stuck for hours.
Ashish Diwakar (@awwshishdiwakar) tweeted: “Stupidity. My dad is waiting on Delhi airport right now on Delhi CCU flight which was supposed to take off around 7. And all they are offering is water to the passengers.”