DELHI- Following disruptions in flight operations and significant chaos at the Delhi Airport (DEL) due to adverse weather conditions, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) issued directives on Monday, urging airlines to provide accurate real-time information about flight delays.
Additionally, airlines were instructed to sensitize their staff at airports to communicate with passengers during disruptions caused by fog effectively.
Delhi Fog: Flight Delayed and Cancellation
The DGCA emphasized that airlines should consider canceling flights with sufficient advance notice, particularly those expected to face delays beyond three hours.
The persistent dense fog in Delhi and adjacent areas has led to numerous flight delays, diversions, and cancellations over the past two days, causing chaotic scenes at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport.
On Sunday, 10 flights were diverted, and some were canceled, while Monday witnessed over 100 cancellations. Flight operations continued to be impacted on Tuesday morning as well.
The frustration among passengers escalated to the point where the captain of an IndiGo flight was assaulted by a man while announcing a delay, highlighting the escalating tension and dissatisfaction with the situation.
DGCA New Flight Delay Rule
On Monday, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) introduced a series of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) following a statement from Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, who highlighted that all stakeholders are tirelessly collaborating to reduce disruptions caused by fog in flight operations.
According to the DGCA SOPs, airlines are permitted to proactively cancel flights with sufficient advance notice, especially those expected to face delays beyond three hours due to adverse weather conditions.
DGCA emphasized the necessity for airlines to disclose accurate real-time information about their flight delays promptly.
The DGCA further highlighted the importance of sensitizing airline staff at airports to effectively communicate with passengers, providing continuous guidance and updates regarding flight delays, as stated in a press release.
In response to the prevailing fog season and adverse weather conditions, the DGCA stated that airlines have the authority to proactively cancel flights with sufficient advance notice, particularly those anticipated to face delays or consequential delays exceeding a period of 3 hours. This proactive measure aims to prevent airport congestion and alleviate passenger inconvenience.
The issuance of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) by the DGCA is in response to fog-induced disruptions and adverse weather conditions at various airports, including Delhi Airport, leading to delays, cancellations, and passenger inconvenience.
The DGCA has also released a Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR) outlining the facilities airlines must provide to passengers in cases of denied boarding, flight cancellations, and delays. Airlines are mandated to publish the CAR reference on flight tickets.
While the DGCA highlights the obligatory adherence to CAR provisions by all airlines, it acknowledges that in cases of Force Majeure events, i.e., extraordinary circumstances beyond the airline’s control, the CAR provisions may not be applicable.
The CAR issuance aims to ensure appropriate protection for air travelers in scenarios involving flight disruptions, particularly denied boardings, cancellations, and delays without proper notice to affected passengers.
IndiGo Captain Assaulted
Chaos erupted at Delhi’s IGI airport on Sunday as numerous flights faced diversions, cancellations, and delays, leading to a passenger physically assaulting the captain of a flight.
Sahil Kataria, a Delhi resident and passenger on IndiGo Delhi-Goa flight 6E2175, rushed from his seat to assault the captain during the announcement of the delay on Sunday.
A video capturing the incident went viral on social media, depicting Sahil Kataria striking the pilot inside the aircraft destined for Goa. The flight eventually departed from Delhi at 6 pm after experiencing a delay exceeding 10 hours, as reported by the flight tracking website flightradar24.
Following the incident, Sahil Kataria was taken to a police station, where he was subsequently arrested. However, he was later released on bail.
Passengers Dine on Tarmac
Passengers of another IndiGo flight affected by Delhi’s weather on Sunday were observed sitting and dining on the tarmac beside the aircraft at Mumbai airport.
The Goa-Delhi IndiGo flight was redirected to Mumbai on Sunday due to adverse weather conditions in Delhi. The flight eventually departed for Delhi at 2:39 am on Monday, encountering a delay of more than 10 hours.
An IndiGo spokesperson acknowledged the incident involving flight 6E2195 from Goa to Delhi on January 14, stating that the diversion was due to low visibility conditions in Delhi.
The airline expressed sincere apologies to the customers and assured a thorough investigation into the incident, with a commitment to take necessary measures to prevent similar occurrences in the future.
A spokesperson from Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in Mumbai explained that as the flight was already delayed in Goa, passengers, feeling restless, disembarked as soon as the stepladder connected to the aircraft.
The airport operators, in coordination with the Central Industrial Security Force’s quick response team, established a cordon around the passengers in a safety zone, as they were hesitant to board the airline coach and proceed to the terminal building.
The passengers remained under the close supervision of airline authorities and security personnel until further actions were taken.
Regarding adherence to regulations, the release emphasized mandatory compliance by all airlines with the provided Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR).
However, it also clarified that in the event of Force Majeure events—extraordinary circumstances beyond the airline’s control—the specified CAR provisions may not be applicable.
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