No Delhi operations for airlines without trained pilots

No Delhi operations for airlines without trained pilots

Identifying airlines' alleged reluctance in deploying trained pilots during fog as a problem, aviation regulator Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has warned that carriers will be stopped from operating to and from Delhi during the fog season.

The DGCA has insisted on deployment of pilots trained in Category III Instrument Landing System (CAT III ILS) and told the airlines that only trained crew would be allowed to operate flights in and out of the capital in case CAT III weather predictions are made by the met department.

Pilots trained in CATIII ILS can land planes even when the runway visibility range is as low as 75 metres. 

Over 300 flights have been cancelled due to fog in Delhi since December 17 last year, including 119 flights on a single day late last week.

DGCA officials said if the airlines are reluctant to do it, defaulting operators would be stopped from operating flights to and from Delhi during low-visibility conditions.

The central Industrial Security Force, which provides security at airports, has told the aviation regulator that airlines are “not informing passengers adequately about flight delays” caused during the fog season, and this is creating trouble at the Delhi airport in managing passengers, who often get into arguments with airline staff.

The Airports Authority of India has also been asked to open up more alternate airports where flights could be diverted during dense fog conditions.

Taking into account problems faced during the fog season, the DGCA has now set up a committee to take steps to ensure that there are no diversions from Delhi airport due to low visibility. 

The technical committee, headed by DGCA's Joint Director General Lalit Gupta, was set up after DGCA chief Prabhat Kumar's meeting with representatives of airlines, airport operators and other stakeholders two days ago. The 10-member panel has been asked to make Delhi a "zero diversionary" airport without compromising on safety of aircraft operations. 

The committee has been asked to submit its report by March 31. 

The DGCA has also decided to set up a cell comprising its own officials and those of all Indian carriers to deal with the fog situation. 

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