Why Chandigarh airport does not see eye to eye with fog | punjab | chandigarh | Hindustan Times
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Why Chandigarh airport does not see eye to eye with fog

It’s every winter’s problem at the Chandigarh International Airport.

punjab Updated: Dec 15, 2017 13:30 IST
Vivek Gupta
Vivek Gupta
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Chandigarh airport,airport,flights delayed

It’s every winter’s problem at the Chandigarh International Airport. Fog hits flights, and there is talk of upgrading the landing system. Here’s a lowdown on the issue:

Why do flights get troubled by fog at Chandigarh airport?

The airport is still not equipped with modern instrument landing system (ILS) that allows flights to land on days having low visibility. It has a basic CAT-I (B) ILS that does not allow landing if the visibility drops below 1,000 metres. On Wednesday, for instance, operations were affected here after the visibility went down to 300 metres. It improved only around 11am.

How does ILS work?

ILS is a navigation system that has approach lights, touchdown and centerline lights on the runway. It aids pilot to see the runway surface while landing in case weather hinders vision. It has varying degrees. For instance, having CAT-III (B) ILS effectively means an all-weather airport. The pilot can land even if the visibility drops below 50 metres. CAT-II, which is being installed here, gives landing access within 350 metres.

What is the way ahead?

Indian Air Force that manages the runway both for civil and military operations has begun upgrading the ILS. It is installing CAT-II — operational even if visibility goes down to 350m — but work is not likely to be completed before mid-2019. The runway length will, however, be increased by 2018 winter. Airport CEO Suneel Dutt said 95% of the flights can easily operate during foggy days if the airport is equipped with CAT-II.

Can it have a more advanced system?

It is not possible with the existing runway as there are certain installations that have to removed. An alternate runway was mooted with advanced landing facility but the matter is pending.

First Published: Dec 14, 2017 09:11 IST