DELHI- The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has issued a show-cause notice to Tata-owned Air India (AI) and Low-cost carrier SpiceJet (SG), directing them to explain their failure in ensuring that exclusively pilots trained for landing in Delhi’s dense fog were assigned flights during recent periods of low visibility.
This lapse resulted in a significant number of diversions.
Air India SpiceJet Gets DGCA Notice
A senior DGCA official stated, “The two airlines have to respond within 14 days. The notice is for rostering non-CAT III compliant pilots.”
According to officials at Delhi Airport (DEL), which currently possesses only one CAT III compliant runway, 58 flights bound for IGIA were diverted between the midnights of December 24-25 and 27-28.
The sources revealed to TOI that 50 of these diversions occurred because the captains were not adequately trained to operate in low visibility conditions.
Following verification by the DGCA using data from airlines and air traffic control (ATC), the regulator has issued notices to both AI and SpiceJet.
This move coincides with the recurrence of low visibility and dense fog in north India, aiming to prevent a repetition of the episode from December 24-28 when CAT III-compliant pilots were not ensured on flights to Delhi during low visibility hours.
Additionally, with Delhi Airport making the main runway available for CAT III landings, these measures could potentially minimize flight disruptions to the greatest extent possible during fog.
Very Poor Air Quality
According to the Flight Information Display System at Delhi Airport, a total of 11 international flights and five domestic flights experienced delays in December 22, 2023.
“Residents engaged in cycling or morning walks expressed that the temperature dropped significantly during the early hours of Saturday, making the cold more intense.
“It’s becoming more challenging for us to go for morning strolls due to the extreme cold. The combination of fog and pollution is adding to the difficulties for regular commuters and morning walkers. We now have to step outside wearing masks to mitigate health problems caused by pollution,” shared a local on Saturday.
According to SAFAR-India (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research), the overall Air Quality Index (AQI) for Delhi was recorded in the ‘Very Poor’ range at 8:07 am on Saturday.
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