Friday, January 05, 2007

‘Alter rule to lower visibility limit’

Recent disruptions in flight schedules on foggy days and the ensuing chaos at airports have forced the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to consider lowering the “take off minima” under foggy situations.
Take off minima refers to the minimum required visibility an aircraft needs to take off in foggy conditions. The current limit is 500 metres.
“The minima should be near the international standard of 200-150 metres as opposed to 500,” Kapil Kaul, CEO of the Center for Asia Pacific Aviation says.
However, the issue remains in limbo as the decision has yet to be sanctioned by the DGCA. K Gohain, DGCA director, says the agency is in talks with airlines to arrive at the benchmark.
Jet, Kingfisher, GoAir and SpiceJet have confirmed that the DGCA had initiated a dialogue.
Experts say reducing take off minima will increase the fleet of airlines as well as airport productivity. “It will reduce fog-related delays by as much as 65 per cent,” says another aviation expert.
05/01/07 Manisha Singhal/Daily News & Analysis