New Delhi: With approaching fog season, DGCA Chief E K Bharat Bhushan on Wednesday reviewed the preparedness of all airlines, Delhi airport operator DIAL and other agencies to meet the exigencies and ensure that minimum hardship is caused to the travelling public.

As per the predictions of the Indian Meteorological Department, foggy conditions would prevail over Delhi between December 20 and February 20 during which there would be an
estimated 110 fog hours, DGCA sources said.

At the meeting, the airlines were directed not to cancel flights on account of commercial reasons, besides ensuring the availability of adequate number of trained pilots to operate in dense fog situations, they said.

The airlines would have to ensure enough number of pilots, trained to operate a flight using the Category-III Instrument Landing System, to and from Delhi.

Two additional alternative airports at Udaipur and Bhubaneshwar have been designated to cater to diverted flights destined to Delhi and Kolkata respectively. In the northern region, alternate airports include Lucknow, Jaipur and Amritsar.

Besides upgrading their infrastructure to meet the fog exigencies, these designated alternate airports would have to be open through the night to cater to diverted flights.

The airlines were also asked to provide advance information to passengers about flight delays, rescheduling or cancellations through SMS, email or phone, they said, adding that latest met information should be displayed on the Flight Information Display boards at the airports and updated every 15 minutes.

On facilities to be provided to passengers, the DGCA chief asked all airlines to ensure basic amenities, along with food, at alternate airports in case a flight is diverted.

The meeting also decided that all construction work should be stopped near the operational area of the IGI Airport. DIAL should also ensure that adequate number of 'follow-me' jeeps  are available during fog, the sources said.

When the fog situation improves, priority should be given by the Air Traffic Control (ATC) to diverted flights.

The sources said the ATC should give clearance for take-off based on the start-up request to avoid congestion. This implies that the ATC should sequence or give clearance to those aircraft which were ready for take-off instead of those slotted but not ready.

Besides Bhushan and other top DGCA officials, the meeting was attended by representatives of Airports Authority of India, domestic and foreign carriers, DIAL and CISF.

(Agencies)