Weather wreaks havoc in Indian capital amid cold snap
Around 100 flights were delayed and 25 canceled on Tuesday afternoon as the Indian capital, New Delhi, grappled with dense fog, low visibility, and record-low temperatures, Indian media has reported.
Chaotic scenes have been emerging from Delhi Airport since Sunday as stranded passengers awaiting departure have had to wait long hours for their flights to take off.
On Tuesday morning, the airport authorities implemented a “low visibility procedures” protocol, warning that flights not equipped for low-visibility landings could experience “delays or diversions.”
Jyotiraditya Scindia, India’s civil aviation minister, reacted to the situation on X (formerly Twitter) on Monday, saying, “all stakeholders are working round the clock to minimize the fog-related impact.” Delhi Airport has two runways equipped to handle low visibility up to 50 meters.
While one of these has been closed for a scheduled re-carpeting since mid-September, the other one was shut down on Sunday morning for a few hours as visibility reached close to zero. Scindia said in his post that the airport has been asked to “immediately operationalize” another CAT-III-enabled runway to streamline operations.
"No Management, Nothing! It's a Big Mess!" - Delhi Airport Collapse as Fog Leaves Travellers Stuck in LimboThousands of people were stranded after 150+ flights were cancelled, with dozens more disrupted, due to weather.@RahulS_7 spoke with passengers at Indira Gandhi… pic.twitter.com/OWfgBb2p4L— RT_India (@RT_India_news) January 15, 2024
Meanwhile, passengers at the New Delhi railway station also faced difficulties as more than 30 trains were delayed due to the cold wave and fog, NDTV reported. The Indian railway network, which carries around 23 million passengers daily, is considered the backbone of the country’s transportation system.
For the fifth day in a row, the Indian capital is in the grips of a cold wave, with temperatures on Tuesday morning recorded at 3.5C – four degrees below what is considered normal for this time of year. On Monday, the Indian capital recorded the coldest morning this winter, as the temperature dipped to 3.3C at Safdarjung – the official weather observatory of the capital. In nearby Lodhi Road, temperatures dropped to 3.1C.
The cold wave in New Delhi has caused health issues, a situation which is also affected by the severe levels of pollution seen during the winter months.