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DGCA approves VFR flights for Gondia airport in Maharashtra

To eliminate fog & low visibility-related flight delays, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has approved special Visual Flight Rules (VFR) for flights operating to and from Gondia Airport in Maharashtra.
Special VFR operations refer to operating in weather conditions where the visibility is less than the minimum visibility criteria for VFR operations i.e. 5,000 meters. IndiGo has received the approval for its ATR 72-600 type of aircraft for special VFR operations to and from the Gondia airport.

“The ATR 72-600 type of aircraft will now be able to take-off from and land at Gondia airport in reduced visibility up to 3,200 metres, thus enhancing the availability of Gondia airport for flight operations,” DGCA said in a communique on Wednesday.

It is noteworthy that, the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) of IndiGo to conduct special VFR operations at the Gondia airport has been approved after a comprehensive evaluation of safety risk assessment and mitigation process.
With the aviation regulator’s latest rules, flights can now operate in low visibility conditions, which is a step forward towards addressing the issue of flight delays, diversions, and cancellations due to low visibility at small airports.

With the present development, this is the second time that the watchdog has approved the commencement of special VFR operations at a small airport. Earlier on November 15 last year, the DGCA gave its nod to IndiGo for similar operations to and from Jharkhand’s Deoghar airport.

“The feedback mechanism has also been incorporated in the regulator’s approval process and the submission of feedback by the airline operator for the first 30 flights operating under special VFR procedures has been mandated for analysis and review,” DGCA statement read.

As per the civil aviation regulator, these approvals for the scheduled airline operator to operate flight in reduced visibility at VFR airports and airports covered under the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS).

“This will also pave the way for enhancing connectivity for other such smaller airfields thereby, promoting the UDAN/RCS Scheme of the Government of India,” the statement said.

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