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Flight delays: Scindia warns passengers against unruly behaviour

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra
Last updated on: January 16, 2024 00:55 IST
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With low-visibility conditions significantly disrupting flight operations at the Delhi airport, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia on Monday said all stakeholders are working round-the-clock to minimise fog-related impact as well as passenger inconvenience, and asserted that unruly passenger behaviour is unacceptable.

IMAGE: Passengers faced difficulties as they stuck in an aerobridge after a flight got delayed minutes before boarding, at the Mumbai airport. Photograph: ANI Photo

Aviation watchdog Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) also asked airlines to publish accurate real-time information regarding flight delays and to appropriately sensitise staff at airports to suitably communicate with the passengers, amid fog-related disruption of operations at airports as part of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).

This came after hours after Scindia said the regulator will issue an SOPs to ensure 'better communication and facilitation of passengers to minimise discomfort in view of flight cancellations and delays due to adverse weather'.


Besides, airport operator DIAL has been directed to expedite the operationalisation of CAT III-enabled fourth runway. When a runway is CAT-III-compliant, flight operations can happen even in low-visibility conditions.

On Sunday, 10 flights were diverted, many were cancelled and delayed, resulting in long waiting hours for passengers at the airport as well as inside aircraft, and many passengers took to social media to express their anguish.

At the airport on Sunday, a passenger assaulted an IndiGo pilot when he was making an announcement of flight delay onboard the aircraft that was to fly to Goa.

In a post on X, Scindia said on Sunday, Delhi witnessed unprecedented fog wherein visibility fluctuated for several hours, and at times, dropped to zero between 5 am and 9 am.

According to him, the authorities were compelled to enforce a shutdown of operations for some time even on CAT-III runways. The decision was taken keeping passenger safety in mind, which remains the foremost priority for all in the aviation ecosystem, he added.

CAT III runways cannot handle zero-visibility operations.

Emphasising that all stakeholders are working round-the-clock to minimise the fog-related impact, Scindia said that certain steps are also being taken to mitigate the situation in the near future.

Delhi airport has been asked to immediately expedite the operationalisation of the CAT III-enabled fourth runway in addition to the existing CAT III-enabled runway to the satisfaction of the DGCA in order to get approvals.

Further, the minister said the (DGCA) will issue an SOP for airlines on better communication and facilitation of passengers to minimise discomfort in view of flight cancellations and delays due to adverse weather.

"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 said.

Delhi airport has four runways -- RW 09/27, RW 11R/29L, RW 10/28 and RW 11L/29R. Of them, three runways, including CAT III-compliant RW 11L/29R, are operational.

The CAT III-compliant RW 10/28 is undergoing maintenance work.

The airport handles around 1,300 flights daily.

'Data from 5 am to 9 am shows that the CAT-III Runway RWY 11R/29L handled 30 landings and 1 take off during the 4-hour period whereas the non-CAT III Runway RWY 9/27 couldn't handle any flight movement and RWY 11L/29R handled 2 Take-offs during the period,' the civil aviation ministry said in a post on X on Monday.

On Monday, five flights were diverted at the Delhi airport due to bad weather.

Meanwhile, in the SOPs, the regulator said that in view of the prevalent fog season and adverse weather conditions, 'airlines may cancel, sufficiently in advance, such flights that are anticipated to be delayed or consequentially delayed on account of such conditions beyond a period of 3 hours with a view to obviate congestion at the airport and mitigate passenger inconvenience'.

In recent weeks, dense fog and absence of CAT III-compliant pilots resulted in disruption of flight operations amid low-visibility conditions.

During December 25-28 last year, flight operations were significantly impacted at the Delhi airport, and nearly 60 flights of various airlines were diverted due to dense fog.

Last month, airport sources had said 58 flights were diverted due to bad weather between 12 am on December 25 and 6 am on December 28.

Recently, aviation regulator DGCA issued show cause notices to Air India and SpiceJet for not deploying pilots trained to operate in low-visibility conditions, following diversions of various flights amid dense fog at the Delhi airport in late December.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra© Copyright 2024 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.