The fog season took off with 39 flight departure delays at the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) here early Tuesday morning. The visibility was so poor that all operations had to be cancelled for 14 minutes. The flight disruptions could aggravate as temperatures drop further in the coming days.
The second runway, equipped with Category III B Instrument Landing System (ILS), could improve matters next year. But on Tuesday, the existing runway with an inadequate Category I ILS, offered pilots no such visibility options. At 2.30 am, the airport declared a visibility standby that continued till 8.31 am. The standby is declared when general visibility goes below 2,500 metres. All operations were suspended from 6.32 am to 6.48 am before flight services resumed. However, there were no diversions or arrival delays.
The early morning flight delays had a cascading effect on the other flights later in the day. For instance, an Air Asia flight to Hyderabad scheduled for departure at 3.15 pm took off only at 4.30 pm.
A passenger, alerted by the airline that the delay was due to bad weather, took to social media to complain that the customers felt cheated as the day was bright and sunny.
Many arriving IndiGo passengers were stranded at the origin airports due to congestion here. To a complaint by a traveller, Anil Ve Pe, IndiGo tweeted: “Extremely sorry for the delay in your flight schedule. Your flight timing was affected due to operational reasons and later due to bad weather at Bengaluru airport.”
Hundreds of arrivals and departures at KIA are either delayed or diverted to other airports between mid-November and early February every year. The existing runway, with a CAT-I ILS, requires a Runway Visual Range (RVR) of 550 metres and a Decision Height (DH) of 60 metres, implying the pilot will have to spot the runway lines from that height to make a decision to land.
However, a CAT-III B ILS allows the pilot to take the decision even from a DH of 15 metres and RVR of 50 metres. To boost safety, KIA ‘s second runway will be powered by LED airfield lighting. The new runway is expected to open only by September 2019.