As winter sets in, the threat of fog disrupting flight schedules at the Delhi airport looms large.
Delhi International Airport Private Limited is undertaking several proactive measures to prevent discomfort to passengers during delays and to provide information in advance.
As part of the preparation, DIAL held a series of meetings with various stakeholders such as airlines, ATC, CISF, BCAS, met department, customs, immigration, Delhi police and catering firms to assess the preparedness for the fog season.
''Based on the discussions several steps are being taken inside and outside the terminals and also on the airside to try and minimise the impact on flight operations and inconvenience to passengers,'' said DIAL's Chief Operating Officer Ioannis Papastefanou.
A centralised emergency response and interactive centre will be set up to co-ordinate operations during the fog season.
The ERIC will be in direct touch with the ATC, apron control and various airlines and would be fed with real time information, which will be useful for operations during fog.
The meteorological department will also be providing latest fog updates to the ERIC. In addition, a crisis management centre would also be set-up to co-ordinate the efforts and manage any unforeseen events.
Representatives from various stakeholders will be present in the CMC. A centralised media centre will also be available to facilitate the media persons.
DIAL will install pre-fabricated tents to accommodate the overflow of passengers, Papastefanou said. The tents will be fire-retardant and will be equipped with oil heaters, and arrangements will be made to provide tea, coffee etc available there.
Flight information will be also available from additional airline information counters.
Food and beverage counters, restaurants inside the terminals will be operating extra counters and kitchens will open 24 hours during this period. A new restaurant just outside terminal 1-B was inaugurated recently. This restaurant will provide additional food supplies for the passengers.
Airlines help line numbers will provide up-to-date information to passengers. In addition a free parking lot is being set-up near the airport to cater to the extra rush of passengers.
A courtesy coach will connect this parking lot with the terminals. Seating in the terminals is being augmented and extra trolleys are being arranged as well for the benefit of passengers.
Visitors' entry to the terminals will also be regulated during the fog period to prevent overcrowding.
The Delhi airport is equipped with category IIB instrument landing system. The system allows compatible aircraft and trained pilots to land even when the runway visibility is up to 50 meters.
Ten aircraft parking stands are equipped to handle cat IIB aircraft and action is being taken to make nine more stands compatible for cat IIB operations.
A brand-new fleet of 'Follow Me' vehicles equipped with GPS and other modern aids have been procured to guide aircraft on the ground during fog conditions if needed.
Special booklets with information on fog and do's and don'ts for passengers will also be circulated.
DIAL is taking all possible measures to minimise the impact of the fog and low visibility on flight operations and to avoid inconvenience for passengers and stakeholders alike.
DIAL is a joint venture company comprising the GMR group, Airport Authority of India, Fraport, Malaysian Airport and India Development Fund, working towards the modernisation and restructuring of the Delhi airport.The project being developed by DIAL under public private partnership has been given the mandate to finance, design, build, operate and maintain the Delhi airport for 30 years with an option to extend it by another 30 years.