Delhi, 05 February 2024: The reason for cancellation & delays has primarily been due to the unprecedented Fog situation at airports situated in northern India during December 2023 & January 2024. The visibility dropped to zero metres at various airports, affecting aircraft operations. The situation was further affected due to non-availability of Runway 28/10 at Delhi airport. Such cancellations and delays have been caused by circumstances that are beyond the control of the airlines.
While there were delays and cancellations, Delhi airport was well prepared and had taken various measures to be prepared and respond to the delays due to fog, including:
(i) Additional 130-140 manpower deployed at the airport during fog season to handle impact of NOTAM during specific hours.
(ii) At Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA), there is a well staffed medical center.
(iii) There are additional 700+ seats available across the 3 terminals.
(iv) Delhi Airport has ensured that passengers of any delayed flights are offered food & beverages, as per advise of various airlines. The existing F & B operators at all terminals have capacity to serve food requirements adequately for this.
Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has issued Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR), Section 8, Series C, Part I, on “All Weather Operations (AWO)” which stipulates the requirement of crew to undergo CAT II/CAT III training.
In Delhi, ILS CAT-III is already operational at 04 runway ends. ILS CAT- I is operational at 03 runway ends and not feasible to upgrade to ILS CAT-III on these runway ends due to limitations of obstacle free zone and land constraints for basic strip and approach light systems.
Provision of CAT-III ILS is made at RWY 29R and new ILS has been installed and flight calibrated for ILS CAT-III.
All taxiways at Delhi airport are certified for CAT-III operations. Further,Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) has published taxi routes to be used during Low Visibility Procedure so that Taxiing aircraft will be taxied in/out on a designated taxi routes which are fully compliant for CAT III operations.
Airports Authority of India (AAI) has issued fog preparedness manual to handle such situations and DGCA has issued CAR Section 3, Series M, Part IV titled ‘Facilities to be provided to passengers by airlines due to denied boarding, cancellation of flights and delays in flights’ in order to reduce inconvenience to the affected passenger due to delay in flight.
Under the provision of aforementioned CAR, the airline has to provide meals and refreshments/hotel accommodation/ alternate flight/ full refund to the passenger who has checked in on time depending on the expected delay beyond of its original announced scheduled time of departure. Airlines shall not be obliged to compensate in cases where the delay is caused by a force majeure event i.e. extraordinary circumstance(s) beyond the control of the airline.
This information was given by the Minister of State in the Ministry of Civil Aviation Gen. (Dr) V. K. Singh (Retd) in a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha today.