Visibility at KIA dropped to 50 m: IMD

Instructions to delay or divert flights given when visibility gets below 400 metres

Visibility at KIA dropped to 50 m: IMD
A day before Christmas on Sunday morning, operations at the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) came to a standstill, leaving 100 flights stuck at the tarmac.

Chilly weather and a significantly reduced visibility had forced the airport to freeze the operations. An IMD official said visibility was as low as 50 metres. "Fog began descending at 5 am and grew dense at 8 am, the time when a maximum number of flights land or take off from the airport," said the official.

"Heavy fog hung over the airport till 7.53 am, after which visibility began to improve," the official said. "We instruct flights to divert, delay or cancel when visibility levels begin to shrink below 400 m. This is also the standard instruction from the Ministry of Civil Aviation."

The official said the procedure needs to be strictly followed to ensure the safety of passengers. The IMD and Air Traffic Control recorded 50-m visibility levels a fortnight ago.

The IMD official warned that a drop in visibility levels, caused by thick fog in winter, could be lower than 50 m in the coming days. KIA so far did not record zero visibility, a common feature during winter in airports up north.

Winter is one time when airport staff, aviation department and pilots turn to the weatherman since they depend entirely on IMD for the forecast. The IMD has predicted fog during morning and evening hours for the next two days.

Till 5.30 pm on Sunday, the weather department had recorded a maximum temperature of 28.5 degrees Celsius and a minimum of 15 degrees Celsius.

The maximum and minimum temperatures at KIA was 27.7 and 13.4 degrees Celsius respectively, while the maximum temperature at the HAL airport was 27 degrees Celsius and minimum was 13.3 degrees Celsius.

Till 8.30 am on Sunday morning, the city recorded a maximum of 27.3 degrees Celsius and a minimum of 15 degrees Celsius.

At the HAL airport, the maximum and minimum temperatures until 8.30 am were 26.5 and 13.3 degrees Celsius, while at KIA, it was 26 and 13.4 degrees Celsius.

 BoX

Low visibility  

 * Airport under cover of fog till 7.53 am

 * Similar drop in visibility happened 15 days ago

 * IMD warns further drop in visibility in the coming days

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