Aviation

For airports witnessing fog, airlines told to operate during daytime

DELHI: To reduce chaos at Delhi airport during the upcoming fog season, Airports Authority of India (AAI) has recommended airlines to change slots and operate to airports expected to witness fog only between 10am and 4pm.

From the last Sunday of October, airlines operate under winter schedule and AAI has asked to prepare a subset ‘profile schedule’, which they can implement for two months only, reports Hindutan Times.

“For instance, if an airline is operating to Patna from Delhi at 6am and another flight to Ahmedabad at 10:30am, they can swap the slots as Ahmedabad does not witness low visibility. Since, flights can take off from Delhi airport in low visibility, the destination point should be an airport where fog is not expected,” said Guruprasad Mohapatra, AAI chairman.

In foggy conditions, airports and aircraft use sophisticated landing systems with pilots trained to deal with low visibility, known as Category-III or CAT-III.

“There are guidelines already in place which says that the aircraft which are not CAT-III compliant should not come before 10am and after 4pm. We have analysed last year’s figures and found that the disruptions were less and between 10am and 4pm, and almost no flights were affected. By adopting the profile schedule, we can accommodate more than 100 slots,” he added.

The Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi, which recorded 55 million passengers last year, has a long runway and equipment to assist instrument landing systems in extreme low visibility.

Apart from Delhi, Kolkata, Jaipur, Lucknow and Amritsar are equipped to handle low visibility operations.

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