The Directorate General of Civil Aviation on Thursday issued a show cause notice to Air India and SpiceJet for rostering non-CAT III compliant pilots during low-visibility at Delhi airport that led to many diversions of Delhi bound flights. A senior DGCA official confirmed that the notice was issued to airlines after it was found that a large number of flight diversions that were reported at Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi were large because these airlines rostered non-CAT III compliant pilots. The pilots were not trained to take off or land in low visibility.
Delhi Airport reported more than 50 diversions due to low visibility because of fog between the midnights of December 24-25 and 27-28.
“The airlines have been asked to reply within fifteen days,” the official added.
On December 26, Flight operations at IGI Airport were severely affected as visibility dropped to 50 meters. According to airport sources, the 50-meter visibility is considered zero visibility. There was a slight improvement in visibility at 8.30 am when visibility was 75 meters, but it again dropped to 50 meters.
“While landings and take-offs continue at Delhi Airport, flights that are not CAT III compliant may get affected. Passengers are requested to contact the airline concerned for updated flight information. Any inconvenience caused is deeply regretted,” the advisory issued by Delhi airport said.
The airport authorities had initiated the anti-fog landing system, technically called the CAT-III Instrument Landing System (ILS). The CAT III system helps with a precision approach and landing when the runway visibility level is low.
Alongside, IndiGo has announced to stop the collection of fuel charges on tickets. The change comes into effect after the introduction of fuel charges that took place three months ago, as a surge in jet fuel prices was seen. Precisely, the airline started levying fuel charges early in October last year, which is now withdrawn from both domestic and international routes, as prices of Aviation Turbine Fuel have come down.
“As ATF prices are dynamic, we will continue to adjust our fares and components thereof, to respond to any change in prices or market conditions,” IndiGo said in a statement.