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Flights diverted as pilots not trained to handle fog: Officials

Officials said 10 out of 16 flights diverted in the last two days happened because their pilots were not trained enough to land the planes in CAT-III condition.

Delhi Pollution PTI PhotoNEW DELHI:  For the third day in a row, flight operations remained affected at the airport due to severe fog conditions. Four flights were diverted between 9 am and 12 noon to Jaipur airport. While the reason cited for the diversion was the dense fog, airport sources attributed the reason to the inefficient training of pilots.

Officials said 10 out of 16 flights diverted in the last two days happened because their pilots were not trained enough to land the planes in CAT-III condition which the Delhi airport has been facing since Monday when the visibility dipped to 175 meters.

On Tuesday, twelve flights were diverted to Jaipur and Lucknow. CAT is an aircraft landing system initiated by Delhi Airport to facilitate landings during low runway visibility. It is categorised into three classes. The first category is when the visibility remains between 550 meters to 300 meters.

CAT II is between 300 to 175 meters while visibility falling under 175 meters comes under the CAT III category.

“These pilots had admitted this to the Air Traffic Control (ATC) officials after which the flights were diverted to airports with clear weather conditions,” an official said.

“Pilots not being trained enough leads to flight diversions which results in loss of flight hours & fuel and inconvenience to the passengers. Many flights get delayed due to this reason,” he added.

When asked whether the Delhi Airport can do anything about the situation, officials said that issuing any direction to the airlines regarding the training of their pilots is the jurisprudence of the DGCA.

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