Over 130 flights disrupted as fog causes chaos at KIA

Over 130 flights were disrupted as poor visibility triggered by a thick layer of fog returned for the first time this season at the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA). (DH Photo)

Over 130 flights were disrupted as poor visibility, triggered by a thick layer of fog, returned for the first time this season at the Kempegowda International Airport early Sunday morning. Thousands of passengers were stranded at the terminal and in flights.

The departure of 66 flights and arrival of 30 flights were affected, a Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) spokesperson informed. At least four flights scheduled to land at KIA were diverted to neighbouring destinations.

Visibility in the Devanahalli area, where the airport is located, dropped to near zero. In all, 33 flights were caught in the holding point congestion. Since the information was not fast and forthcoming, several passengers were left clueless about their departure and arrival time.

Many travellers took to Twitter to vent out their frustration. One of them, Karan Miglani, tweeted: “Sitting at Bangalore airport to board for Delhi. Nobody informed flight is delayed. Asked the counter to check when boarding is to start, the counter guy says delayed. So they will not inform themselves? Who will update the announcement boards? Such unprofessional behaviour.”

Another passenger went right to the top, tweeting to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He tweeted, “Respected sir, from 6.05 am onwards we are sitting in the IndiGo flight at Bangalore airport... kids are there.. patients are there... till now flight didn't take off...no any correct indication. Please, your intervention is highly appreciated.”

The departure delays extended from two to three hours. A passenger who landed in Delhi after a three-hour delay found the airport there, too, overcrowded by affected travellers. Cyclone-triggered disruptions at the Kolkata airport had also affected the Delhi arrivals and departures.

Former cricketer Anil Kumble was among the passengers stranded on a Vistara flight from KIA to Delhi.

The disruptions at KIA had a cascading effect on dozens of flights landing in Mumbai and Delhi. Airlines had a tough time scheduling and rescheduling connecting flights.

Singer Shaan was also among the passengers.  

Fog delays had played havoc with flight schedules throughout the winter season last year. The operationalisation of the second runway dubbed the New South Parallel Runway (NSPR) in the first week of December 2019, is expected to address this problem to a large extent.

The new runway is fitted with CAT-III Instrument Landing System (ILS), which will allow flights to take off and land even with low visibility. The existing runway, which has only the CAT-I ILS, is expected to get an upgrade once the second runway stabilises.

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