Flights delayed by three hours due to thick fog in the Kolkata Airport

Published on : Monday, December 30, 2013

thick-fogThick fog cover over Kolkata dropped the visibility level and delayed several flights by at least three hours at the International airport in Kolkata.

The dense fog forced vehicles to keep their blinkers on till 8am in the morning, this is however not unusual at this time of the year.

The weather office said the fog was triggered by a high-pressure belt over central and north India. The system caused relative humidity to rise, resulting in fog and a 1.3-degree increase in the day’s minimum temperature.

Airport officials said around 30 flights scheduled to take off in the morning were delayed by two-and-a-half to three hours. The first to take off after the fog gave way was Air India’s flight to Port Blair at 8am, two-and-a-half hours after its scheduled departure.

Visibility on the runway had started dropping a little after 3.30am and soon fell below 50 metres, making flight operations impossible. A Qatar Airways flight from Doha was the last flight to land before the temporary shutdown. The airport has a Cat-II instrument landing system that allows flights to land till visibility drops to 350 meters.

At 7.30am visibility started improving and flight operations resumed at 8am. The first aircraft to land was Jet Airways’s Calcutta-Bangkok flight. Severe weather in Bangladesh and north Bengal compounded the woes of fliers.

A private airline from Singapore to Chittagong in Bangladesh was diverted to Calcutta because of bad weather in Bangladesh.

An Air India flight from Calcutta to Bagdogra with 132 passengers on board could not land there on Saturday after hovering above the airport for 10 minutes. The flight had taken off from Calcutta at 1.40pm, only to return to base in the afternoon. Airlines officials said 144 passengers booked on the return flight were stranded at Bagdogra.

The airline had planned to operate a special flight and passengers were asked to report at Calcutta and Bagdogra. Half an hour before the scheduled take-off, Bagdogra airport sent word that visibility there was not conducive to flight operations.

Airline officials said they would operate their special flight subject to weather condition. Stranded passengers have been provided hotel accommodation.

Suburban trains in Eastern Railway’s Sealdah division ran 15 to 30 minutes late in the morning till around 9am. Several long-distance trains were delayed by three to four hours on an average.

Motorists who were out early in the morning found driving difficult on open stretches of the Rajarhat Expressway, Jessore Road, VIP Road and Red Road.

According to Met officials, moisture incursion over the past couple of days had also led to a gradual increase in the minimum temperature.

The Celsius had dropped to 13.1 degrees Celsius on Friday, the lowest of the season, but rose to 13.4 degrees on Saturday and 14.7 degrees on Sunday.

The forecast for the rest of the week is also somewhat similar with the temperature dipping to 15 degrees before the Celsius starts to fall again. Gokul Chandra Debnath, director of the India Meteorological Department, Calcutta said there is excess moisture in the air over central India, the region through which the northerly winds blow on their way to the east. Once that high-pressure belt dissipates, the chill will return.

The New Year’s Day is expected to enjoy a chilly temperature of around 14 degree. The temperature is said to be normal at this time of the year. So for a few more days Kolkata has to prepare to wake up to foggy weather.

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