Wednesday, December 09, 2020

1st fog disruption this winter hits 33 flights, holds up departures for 2 hrs

Kolkata: Diversion of an incoming flight and delay in several flights departing from city airport on Tuesday morning marked the first major disruption due to fog this winter. Thirty-three fights were affected and operations were suspended for 90 minutes.

Weathermen said there could be fog on Wednesday morning as well, again causing some problems in flight operations.

On Tuesday, visibility began declining from 4.30am, when shallow fog set in. The condition worsened around 6.15am, when visibility dropped below 50m. It stayed that way for an hour-and-a-half before visibility began improving and cleared the 1,000m mark around 9.30am. As a result, 33 flights were delayed, most of them departing ones. Of the six arrivals that were delayed, one had to be diverted to another airport. Airport officials said the delay for departing flights ranged from 30 minutes to three-and-a-half hours.

The situation would have been worse had it been one day earlier or later as more flights would have been held up. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, around 50 more flights operate than the other days of the week due to an embargo on flights from Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Pune and Nagpur on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. IndiGo that had 64 flights scheduled for operation from Kolkata airport on Tuesday saw 10 morning flights being delayed. Other airlines — Air India, SpiceJet and GoAir — also reported delays.

The disruption would have been more extensive had the airport not been equipped with category (CAT) III-B instrument landing system (ILS) that allow flights to land when visibility is as low as 50m, provided the aircraft is equipped with the requisite technology and pilots are trained. “Departures were completely held up after the 6.15am take-off. The next flight could depart only at 8.15am. In between, for about half an hour, some incoming flights did land. But for 90 minutes, the meteorological condition was not conducive for flight operations,” said airport director Kaushik Bhattacharjee.

09/12/20 Times of India

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