AMN / New Delhi
The New Year 2018 began on a chilly and foggy note in the national capital Delhi, with heavy fog affecting road, air and rail traffic, while the mercury dipped to 5.7 degrees Celsius.
Dense fog in the national capital affected more than 200 flights, leading to delay in 56 trains, rescheduling of 20 and cancellation of 15 trains.
Dense fog engulfed the Delhi airport in the morning hours, resulting in dropping of visibility below 50 m.
All domestic and international flights from the Delhi airport were put on hold at about 6 this morning and they started taking off only a little before 11. Three hundred flights were delayed and 8 cancelled due to poor visibility. Among the 300 hundred delayed, 265 were domestic flights and the rest international. There was a scramble for the elevators, staircases and the escalator to the departure hall as soon information trickled in that boarding has begun.
There are planes queued up at the tarmac for take-off, with the suspension of operations resulting in a massive backlog. No flights have been cancelled today so far.
At the airport’s Terminal 1 or T1, the waiting hall and the area near the boarding gates were packed with people sitting on the floor and staircases waiting for word on their delayed flights. Passengers were seen arguing with airlines staff at counters about the lack of clear information and announcements.
Thick fog covered most parts of Delhi and the National Capital Region on Day One of 2018.
Departures require a visibility of at least 125 metres, while planes can land in visibility below 50 metres if the pilots are trained in CAT IIIB, a system of advanced technology for low-visibility landings that allows aircraft qualified to land in visibility of 25-50 metres.
56 trains headed towards the capital are late and 20 have been rescheduled. 15 have been cancelled, the Northern Railways said.