More than 200 planes flying in and out of the national Capital were delayed, diverted or cancelled as the season’s “worst” fog reduced visibility to 50 metres at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) on the New Year’s Eve.Take-offs from the IGI Airport require a minimum visibility of 125 metres.According to the officials, as the Delhi airport has advanced technology for low-visibility landings, called the CAT IIIb system (category IIIb), aircraft qualified to land in the visibility of 25-50 metres could arrive. There were, however, nearly 50 diversions to nearby airports as many pilots deployed by the airlines were not CAT IIIB compliant.”Over 150 flights were delayed, nearly 50 diverted and an estimated 20 were cancelled. No flights could take-off from Delhi for nearly four hours between 7.30 am and 11.05 am,” said a senior official.While the visibility improved to 2,000 metres later in the day and operations were restored to normal, there were consequential delays throughout the day and a waiting time of up to six hours was common.Many people took to social media, including Twitter, to share pictures of the overcrowded domestic terminal where passengers could be seen sitting on floors and occupying staircases.”Runway visibility since 5.30 am has been between 50-75 metres. This is, so far, the worst fog we have experienced this year,”said RK Jenamani, Director, Indian Meteorological Department, Delhi area and IGI Airport said.FOGGED OUTTake-offs from the Capital’s IGI Airport require a minimum visibility range of 125 metres. Runway visibility since 5.30 am was been between 50-75 metres.
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