‘Unprecedented fog compelled shutdown for some time’, says Scindia on Delhi airport chaos

Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said that Delhi airport is going to activate CAT III runway due to chaos in the airport.

New Delhi: Following traffic congestion and delays in flight operations at the Delhi airport due to fog on January 14 morning, Union Minister of Civil Aviation Jyotiraditya Scindia on Monday said the temporary shutdown of airport operations, including CAT III runways, was due to near-zero visibility.

Scindia, expressing concern for passenger safety, took to X to explain the decision. “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).”

To address the situation, Scindia outlined proactive measures. He tweeted, “To mitigate the situation in the near future, following steps have been taken: @DelhiAirport 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 @DGCAIndia, in order to get approvals.”

Furthermore, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is set to issue Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for airlines to enhance communication and facilitate passengers during flight cancellations and delays attributed to adverse weather conditions.

“It is my earnest request to all travellers to bear with us during this difficult period. All stakeholders are trying their best to minimise passenger inconvenience. Incidences of unruly behaviour amidst this are unacceptable, and will be dealt with strongly in line with the existing legal provisions,” he tweeted.

“I would like to assure everyone that all stakeholders are working round the clock to minimise the fog-related impact,” he said.

Around 150 flights were delayed for hours due to traffic congestion at the IGI Airport here on Sunday, while 11 flights were diverted, and some cancelled as low visibility conditions due to dense fog disrupted operations, causing chaos for passengers and airlines alike.

An official said that on Sunday between 4.30 a.m. and 12 noon, a total of 11 flights, including three international flights, were diverted.

Eight flights were redirected to Jaipur, while one each were sent to Ahmedabad, Mumbai, and Shimla.

The dense fog not only impacted domestic routes but also caused substantial delays and cancellations for overseas services.

Meanwhile, several flights were delayed on Monday morning too due to low visibility.

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