Commuters ride through heavy fog on a winter morning in New Delhi (Photo Source: PTI)
As the national capital continued to battle severe pollution for the fourth consecutive day, flight operations were partially suspended at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport, New Delhi, due to low visibility on Tuesday. According to officials, two flights were cancelled, five were diverted and over 80 were delayed when Low Visibility Procedures (LVP) was in force for around 11 hours on Tuesday. While the minimum runway visibility for a safe takeoff is 125 metres, the capital on Tuesday woke up to a cold and foggy morning, with visibility dropping to 50 metres.
"84 flights delayed, 5 diverted and 2 cancelled due to foggy weather conditions at Delhi Airport," the news agency ANI reported.
84 flights delayed, 5 diverted and 2 cancelled due to foggy weather conditions at Delhi Airport.— ANI (@ANI) December 25, 2018
While the minimum runway visibility for a safe takeoff is 125 metres, the capital on Tuesday woke up to a cold and foggy morning, with visibility dropping to 50 metres. The departure of flights was on hold for two hours from around 07:15 am and was later resumed at 09:16 am this morning. The LVP was in place from around 01:30 am to 12:15 pm on Tuesday, officials said.
The Indira Gandhi International Airport is the busiest in India and on an average sees more than 70 flight movements, including arrivals and departures per hour.
Delhi's air quality has been 'severe' since Saturday. The national capital recorded its second-highest pollution level of the year on Sunday with an AQI of 450.
Though increased wind speed is likely to bring respite and improve the air quality in the next few days, it will remain in the upper end of the 'very poor to severe' category, according to the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM).
In the wake of this alarming situation, SAFAR, in a health advisory, has asked Delhiites not to rely on common dust masks for protection. The agency has also advised people to avoid taking walk, burning anything such as wood, candle or even incense.
The advisory also recommended frequent wet mopping, closing of windows and using masks known as N-95 or P-100 respirators for outdoor activities.