North India is completely enveloped in fog these days. In the mornings, it is not uncommon to have a sight of no more than a feet, even if. This has wreaked havoc with the transportation in the entire region. The planes, the road traffic and trains – all have been affected.
As for the planes – which are causing heart ache to many a passenger in North India – to land and take off in foggy conditions three things are critical:
- The airport runways should be CAT 3 ILS (Instrument Landing System) equipped
- Airplanes should be equipped to use the CAT3 ILS
- Pilots should be trained to use CAT3 ILS
In India, Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) is the only airport that is CAT IIIB ILS compliant. In fact it has 120 parking bays with CAT III compliant lighting systems.
As for the planes plying on the domestic route, the CAT III compliant planes have gone up (roughly 1500 by last year and this year there are over 2048 pilots). Air India (domestic) leads the airlines with maximum trained pilots followed by Kingfisher, then SpiceJet, then GoAir and IndiGo.
Jet Airways, one of the leading airlines is the worst trained in this area.
So, given the preparations by the airlines, one would be the safest to use Kingfisher or Air India.
In any case here is some information that will be useful to keep in your backpocket or at least on your blackberry to use when it is required:
IGIA Helpline: 0124-3376000
Metereological Department: 011-25654334/4335/4273
Train Enquiry: 139
Get SMS alerts on flight schedules at 5667777
Real time fog updates ad forecasts: www.imd.gov.in and www.amssdelhi.gov.in
Live flight status updates: www.newdelhiairport.in
Train Status Enquiry: www.trainenquiry.com
Help numbers for various airlines:
Kingfisher: 1-800-209-3030 / 1-800-425-7008
Jet Airways: 011-3989-333 / 1-800-225-5522
Air India: 1-800-180-11407 / 0124-287-7777
IndiGo: 0991-038-3838 / 1-800-180-3838
SpiceJet: 098718-0333 / 1-800-180-3333
GoAir: 09223-222-111 / 1-800-222-111
And remember, carry as little baggage as you can and preferably do not check in anything (if you can). That way you are flexible to change your flight and even the airlines if you can push through enough!
The worst hit times are between 11pm to 10 am in the morning, so if you can, plan your flights in the evening or afternoons.