Aviation minister issues fresh SOP to alleviate passengers’ woes

Intense fog conditions have disrupted flight operations at many airports, including Delhi, over the past one week, resulting in inconvenience to passengers

Flight delays

New Delhi: Amidst chaos at the airports and on aircraft due to fog related delays, civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya M Scindia on Tuesday issued additional standard operating procedures (SOPs) for airlines to mitigate sufferings of the passengers. Visibility issues aggravated by intense fog has disrupted flight operations at airports mostly in northern parts of the country, including Delhi, for the past one week.

The additional SOPs envisage incidence reporting thrice daily for all six metro airports, implementation of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) directives and monitoring compliance of the SOPs and CARs and setting up of ‘war rooms’ by airports and airline operators at the six metro airports to address any issues to minimise passengers’ inconvenience.

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The airport authorities have been told to ensure deployment of sufficient strength of CISF manpower round-the-clock.

Taking to the X, Scindia said that RWY (runway) 29L at the Delhi airport has been made CAT III operational from Tuesday to address issue of fog-induced disruptions. “Operationalization of RWY 10/28 as CAT III at Delhi Airport after re-carpeting will also be undertaken,” said a senior officer at Delhi airport.

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Against the backdrop of a passenger assaulting a pilot onboard an IndiGo aircraft at the Delhi airport on Sunday, the minister said unruly behaviour is unacceptable. “Incidences of unruly behaviour amidst this are unacceptable, and will be dealt with strongly in line with the existing legal provisions,” he said.

Flight operations at Delhi airport were badly hit due to dense fog on Sunday resulting in many diversions, cancellation, and inordinate delays. The DGCA issued SOPs on Monday, instructing all scheduled airlines to comply with them regarding flight delays and cancellations.

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The DGCA’s SOP stipulated that airlines are required publishing accurate real-time information about flight delays on the respective website of the airline and provide advance information to affected passengers by SMS, WhatsApp and email.

The display at airports shall be updated and placed in such position that passengers could easily see the information in the waiting areas. “There should be appropriate sensitization of the airline staff at the airports to suitably communicate with and continuously inform the passengers about flight delays,” the DGCA’s SOP stated.

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