Tough winter for air passengers

One CAT III B certified runway degraded to CAT II B


Sweta Ranjan | November 11, 2011

It’s again going to be a tough and chaotic winter for air flyers. The airport authority of India (AAI) has released a NOTAM (notice to airman) which says that one of the CAT III B certified runway is degraded to CAT II B. This means that the runway 28 will not be available for operations during foggy weather.

This move by AAI will cause delays in flights as operators will be left with only one runway out of two main runways. Only runway 29 will be available to them as a main runway.

During foggy situation an aircraft needs to fulfill three conditions to operate. The aircraft need to be CAT III B certified, crew members need to be CAT III B trained and the airport needs to be CAT III B equipped. While airlines have trained sufficient number of pilots to face CAT III B condition, the degradation of the runway will cause delay in flights.

The pilots trained on CAT III landing system can fly in low visibility conditions.

Dense fog comes as a nightmare for air flyers because delay and cancellation of flights throw schedules across the country into disarray. The disruptions have an effect on crew scheduling  as crew members and pilots get stranded elsewhere, making them unavailable for flights.

While airlines had started to muster trained cockpit crew and CAT III B equipped aircraft the runway number 28 being unavailable may disorder flight scheduling.

Several hundred flights were cancelled or delayed for hours last year at the Delhi airport due to fog.

In Delhi, fog often reduces visibility considerably, forcing pilots to depend on instruments to land on runways equipped with Cat III B landing system. The months of November and December are usually the season for fog in the national capital.

Officials at AAI are unavailable to comment on this NOTAM.



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