New Delhi: Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport is facing a severe crisis due to fog and poor management by the airport operators, airlines, and other agencies. Hundreds of flights have been canceled, delayed or diverted, leaving passengers stranded and frustrated. The agencies responsible for the airport’s smooth functioning have failed to adequately prepare for the foggy conditions, which are expected to last for the rest of the month.
Fog affects 225 flights on Tuesday
On Tuesday, about 225 flights were affected by the fog at Delhi Airport. 41 flights were canceled, including 18 departures and 23 arrivals. More than 185 flights could not depart at their scheduled time, resulting in long queues and overcrowding at the terminals. The delayed flights included 29 international and 66 domestic flights.
Monday sees 13-hour delays and diversions
The situation was even worse on Monday when some flights departed for their destinations with a delay of about 12 to 13 hours. One of the worst affected flights was Spice Jet flight SG-8703 from Delhi to Mumbai, which was scheduled to depart at 5:35 pm on January 15, but left at around 4:53 am on January 16. Another flight, UL-192 from Delhi to Colombo, was delayed by about 13 hours from its scheduled time. Moreover, 10 flights were diverted from the airport on Monday, adding to the confusion and inconvenience of the passengers.
Display boards show wrong information
Many passengers have also complained about the incorrect information displayed on the electronic boards at the airport. A passenger named Raja Basu has filed a complaint to the airport operator, alleging that the boards often show wrong information about the departure, boarding and gate closure of the flights. He said that this causes a lot of confusion and anxiety among the passengers, who have to run from one gate to another to catch their flights. He also said that the airport staff are not helpful or cooperative in providing the correct information.
Elderly woman denied boarding on a wheelchair
Another incident that highlighted the insensitivity and negligence of the airlines was the denial of boarding to an elderly woman who had come on a connecting flight of Vistara Airlines. The woman was in a wheelchair and was being escorted by the airline staff from one flight to another. However, the staff refused to board her on the next flight, citing that she had arrived late. The woman and her co-passengers protested against this unfair treatment, and the airline finally agreed to send her to her destination on the next flight.
No end in sight for the crisis
The passengers at Delhi Airport have no clue when the situation will improve. The Meteorological Department Director RK Jenamani has said that fog is normal in January and this trend will continue at least this month. He said that the weather department can only forecast fog according to 24-hour conditions, and cannot predict the exact duration or intensity of the fog. Meanwhile, the airport operators and airlines are busy blaming each other for the chaos and mismanagement, instead of taking concrete steps to resolve the issue.