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Measures taken to tackle fog problem have led to significant reduction in flight cancellations and delays

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The Union Minister of Civil Aviation and Steel Shri Jyotiraditya M. Scindia, replying to a supplementary to a starred question in Rajya Sabha yesterday said that as per the Civil Aviation Rules (CAR), in case of flight cancellation before 1- 2 hours of departure time, airlines need to immediately arrange in another connecting flight.

In case, there is a delay beyond 5 to 6 hours it is airlines’ responsibility to arrange for a hotel stay, refund to the passengers, and provide them next available flight. He said that these rules are indicated in the CAR, and if any violation is brought to the notice of the Ministry of Civil Aviation, immediate action is taken against the defaulter accordingly.

The Minister also elaborated the steps being taken to tackle the fog issue during winter months, which has led to drastic reduction in cancellations and delays of flights due to fog.

In an unstarred question yesterday, the Minister of State in the Ministry of Civil Aviation Gen. (Dr) V. K. Singh (Retd) informed that Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) engages with stakeholders every year prior to start of fog period to ensure their preparedness for fog-related operations. Following actions are taken before onset of fog period:

i) Special audits of CAT II/III ILS facilities to ensure uninterrupted Air Navigation Services (ANS) during fog season

ii) Inspections to ensure that critical/sensitive areas are secured appropriately at aerodromes

iii) Direction to Airlines to bring changes in their flight schedules in order to eliminate CAT II/III non-compliant aircraft from operating during fog and

iv) Directions to Airlines to ensure scheduling of CAT II/III qualified crew only.

In order to prepare for onset of fog period, the number of inspection and special audits were increased over the last two years to enhance various facilities at Airports and in the area of Air Navigation services. As a result, despite increase in flights by about 20%, flight cancellations which was 0.09% during 2021-2022 of total flight movements reduced to 0.05% of total flight movements in 2022-2023.

Government plans to further improve preparedness for fog conditions through:

(1) Regular surveillance of various facilities such as Aerodrome, Air Navigation Services, Meteorological equipment etc. to ensure compliance towards applicable regulations.

(2) Audits of fog affected airports to ensure uninterrupted air navigational services, aerodrome lightings and other related facilities and to ensure critical and sensitive areas are secured appropriately, before the onset of fog period.

(3) Direction to Airlines before onset of fog to ensure the following

i. To bring changes in flight schedules in order to eliminate CAT II/III non-compliant aircraft from operating during the fog period

ii.  To ensure scheduling of only CAT II/III qualified crew for fog affected airports

iii. To ensure passenger handling during delays are as per laid down norms

iv. To ensure positioning of Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (AME) at diversion airports. 

(4) The whole preparedness drive is closely monitored and reviewed by Government before the onset of fog period.

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