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Expect flight delays but better comfort

With winter setting in, the Delhi airport is bracing for dense fog that disrupts flight schedules every year, reports Sidhartha Roy.

india Updated: Nov 22, 2006 06:16 IST

With winter setting in, the Delhi airport is bracing for dense fog that disrupts flight schedules every year.

The Delhi International Airport Private Limited said on Monday that it was taking measures to tackle fog-triggered delays this winter. However, do not expect any miracles. Flight delays will remain a problem till at least 2008 winter, by which time a new CAT III B-compliant runway and a new interim terminal are expected.

Although the Delhi airport has two runways, only one is CAT III B-calibrated. The other one cannot be used during dense fog. “Limitations are there as one of the runway is only CAT I-compliant and cannot be used. Our first concern is safety and then the inconvenience caused to passengers,” said Ioannis Papastefanou, Chief Operating Officer of DIAL.

Travellers, however, can now look forward to regular flight updates, a centralised emergency response centre, supply of food and beverages and attached rest rooms in fire-retardant tents equipped with oil heaters.

Regular flight updates would be provided through flight information display systems and airline information counters. DIAL said that helpline numbers are being set up to provide up-to-date information to passengers.

Apart from food and beverage counters, restaurants inside the terminals will operate extra counters and kitchens will be open 24 hours. DIAL said that a new restaurant just outside terminal 1-B would also be inaugurated soon.

Visibility at the airport is good as of now. “There have been some problem due to haze during November but there has been no fog,” said Dr RK Jenamani, Director, Indian Meteorological Department.

Airport authorities would receive weather updates from the Meteorological Department every six hours and would co-ordinate with agencies like airlines, Air Traffic Control and CISF. Other measures include a free parking lot near the airport to cater to the extra rush with park-and-ride facility till the terminals. Visitors’ entry to the terminals will be regulated during the fog period.

Nine additional CAT III B-compliant aircraft parking stands are also being installed at the domestic airport, said PP Singh, Associate General Manager (Operations), DIAL.

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First Published: Nov 22, 2006 06:16 IST