Runway upkeep cancelled as fog delays flights again

Runway upkeep cancelled as fog delays flights again

Dense fog had an unlikely fallout on Tuesday: the airport had to cancel runway maintenance to clear its flight traffic backlog.

Visibility fell below the stipulated level for the second time in three days, and as a result, airport operations were suspended in the early hours.

Nine flights were cancelled and 83 delayed. The delays had a cascading effect, with dozens of planes queuing up for take-off well into the day.

The airport pauses operations every Tuesday between 12.30 and 3 pm for what it calls 'deep runway maintenance'.  

An airport spokesperson said everyday maintenance would take care of the runway, and the cancellation of deep maintenance was no cause for worry.

"We wanted to ensure passengers were affected to the least extent possible," he told DH.

In the wee hours

Fog engulfed the airport at 4.37 am. Operations were suspended for close to three hours, till 7.45 am.

A hundred flights were disrupted. Five departures and four arrivals were cancelled. Four passenger flights, including two international ones, were diverted to Chennai.

Among the 83 delayed flights, 28 were arrivals, and 55 departures.

Expert's take

Runway maintenance is best done to a regular schedule, an expert said.

"It is just like car maintenance. If you skip it, the risk of breakdown increases," Rajiv Chib, aviation analyst, told DH.


Foggiest week

This could be the worst fog-hit week as far as the Bengaluru airport is concerned.

It has seen 179 flight delays, 18 cancellations, and nine diversions to Chennai in just two days.

On Sunday, nine flights were cancelled and 96 delayed, while five were diverted to Chennai.


Visibility issues  

400 metres

550 metres

(Mandatory visibility, according to the Director General of Civil Aviation)

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