Airlines seek better fog prediction mechanism
Airlines have sought better fog prediction mechanism for flight operations during the winter season in a meeting with Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha. Concerns were raised about additional costs involved for airlines due to diversions and cancellations in a meeting held to review standard operating procedures for flight operations during fog. Hundreds of flights were delayed at Indira Gandhi International airport earlier this week as the season’s worst fog hit Delhi bringing down visibility to zero. Over 300 flights were affected on December 31 and more than 500 were hit on January 1.
“Chaired a meeting with all aviation stakeholders to review and refine the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for fog-affected days. Many constructive suggestions received: more inputs welcome,” Sinha said in a Tweet.
A source present at the meeting said accuracy of prediction of fog was among the many issues raised at the meeting. Aviation sources have said that the fog on new year’s eve was unforeseen and airlines could not deploy pilots trained to operate flights in low visibility. As a result, as many as 50 planes destined for Delhi had to be diverted to other airports.
The IGI has advanced CAT III B technology which aides during landing in low visibility conditions. Airlines have to deploy pilots trained in CAT III B landing on the basis of weather prediction for the destination.
Various steps to improve passenger convenience and to help reduce costs for airlines were also discussed. Vistara’s chief strategy and commercial officer Sanjiv Kapoor also shared some of his concerns on Twitter.
“Aircraft do not get assigned a departure sequence number until all aboard and doors closed. That is what needs to change. That is what leads to pax and crew being held on board for hours waiting for their turn to depart,” he posted.