New Delhi, Feb 17 (IANS): A thick blanket of fog engulfed the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport Thursday leading to delays and diversions of scores of flights in the capital, officials said.
“Flight operations at IGI airport were affected due to dense fog in the morning. Around 20 flights, which were scheduled to depart this morning were delayed,” said an official of the Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) that runs the airport operations.
Ten incoming flights were diverted to nearby airports, the official said.
“The runway visibility dropped to 50 metres, which is below the required low visibility take off minimum of 125 metres, and CAT (category) III B ILS (instrument landing system) was operated,” the official added.
The CAT (category) III B ILS enables the aircraft equipped with necessary instruments to rely only on them and land even in blinding fog.
Passengers had a harrowing time, with many being made to board flights and wait for hours. A Jet Airways pilot told passengers that at least 60 flights were at one stage queued up at the runway.
Many passengers had to stay in the plane for over three hours as their aircraft could not take off due to poor visibility.
“The passengers who boarded the flight early in the morning had to stay on the runway for over three hours as the pilot informed them that they may not be able to take off due to the fog,” Yuvraj Mehta, who came to send off his friend to Chennai, said.
However, rail services were not affected due to the fog. “The trains were running normally, there were no cancellations or rescheduling today (Thursday),” a railway official told IANS.
The low visibility also affected vehicular movement on roads.
Vivek Shukla, a private firm employee who drives to work from Laxmi Nagar to Green Park, said: “The fog and low visibility slowed down the vehicular traffic.”
According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the minimum temperature was recorded at 9.8 degrees Celsius, a notch below normal. The skies will be clear later in the day and there is no possibility of rain.
“The maximum temperature is expected to hover around 23 degrees Celsius,” a met department official said. The humidity level was recorded at 97 percent.
Delhi received sporadic rain Wednesday. The minimum temperature settled at 12.3 degrees Celsius, a degree above normal, and the maximum temperature was 22.7 degrees, a notch below the average.