Amid flight delays at Delhi airport, aviation minister shares action plan | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Amid flight delays at Delhi airport, aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia shares action plan

Jan 15, 2024 02:20 PM IST

Jyotiraditya Scindia said Delhi Airport has been asked to immediately expedite the operationalisation of the CAT III-enabled 4th runway.

Amid the severe fog conditions in Delhi, forcing the airlines to divert or delay their flights, aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia on Monday shared the steps being taken “to mitigate the situation in the near future”. He also assured people that all stakeholders are “working round the clock to minimise the fog-related impact”.

Fog drapes an aircraft at the Delhi airport on Sunday morning. (ANI)
Fog drapes an aircraft at the Delhi airport on Sunday morning. (ANI)

“Yesterday, Delhi witnessed unprecedented fog wherein visibility fluctuated for several hours, and at times, dropped to zero between 5 AM to 9 AM. The authorities, therefore, were compelled to enforce a shut-down of operations for some time even on CAT III runways (CAT III runways cannot handle Zero-Visibility operations). The decision was taken keeping passenger safety in mind, which remains the foremost priority for all in the aviation ecosystem,” Scindia wrote on social media X.

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Sharing the steps taken to resolve the issue, the aviation minister said, “Delhi Airport has been asked to immediately expedite the operationalization of the CAT III-enabled 4th runway (in addition to the existing CAT III-enabled runway) to the satisfaction of the DGCA, in order to get approvals."

“The DGCA will issue an SOP for airlines on better communication and facilitation of passengers to minimise discomfort in view of flight cancellations & delays due to adverse weather,” he added.

Scindia requested travellers to bear with the authorities “during this difficult period”.

Reacting to an incident of alleged assault against an IndiGo pilot on board a Delhi-Goa flight on Sunday, the minister said, “Incidences of unruly behaviour amidst this are unacceptable, and will be dealt with strongly in line with the existing legal provisions.”

A purported video of the incident surfaced on social media and showed Sahil Kataria, in a yellow jacket, hitting the pilot as he was making the announcement inside the aircraft.

In a statement, IndiGo Airlines said Katariya "assaulted" the co-pilot and that the matter had been referred to an independent internal committee for the inclusion of the passenger on the "no-fly list".

In a video clip, other crew members could be seen shouting at him after Sahil Kataria hit the pilot. In another video clip, Sahil Kataria is seen being taken out of the aircraft by security personnel even as he apologised for his conduct.

Sahil Kataria was then taken to a police station and later arrested.

More than 100 flights were delayed in Delhi on Sunday, but intermittent flight operations resumed on Monday morning, an airport official told news agency Reuters.

Aviation website Flightradar24 showed at least 168 flights leaving Delhi were delayed and 56 flights were cancelled on Monday morning.

At least 18 trains to Delhi from different parts of the country were running late because of dense fog, news agency ANI, in which Reuters has a minority stake, said on X, citing a railway document.

The IMD has predicted dense fog and a cold wave in New Delhi for Monday and 'very dense fog' on Tuesday, with a minimum temperature of 4 degrees Celsius.

The Indira Gandhi International Airport was not operational from 4am to 10 am on Sunday because of dense fog, the official added, leading to massive delays at airports across the country, causing delays and leading to frayed tempers.

Social media and news channels showed visuals of angry passengers arguing with airport staff at New Delhi and other airports.

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