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DGCA issues SOPs for airlines to update passengers about flight disruptions

With massive increase in cancellation of flights over the weekend due to fog-related disruptions at airports, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has issued a set of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) on Monday.

The aviation watchdog has instructed airlines to provide accurate real-time information regarding delays and enhance the sensitisation of staff at airports to communicate effectively with passengers, news agency PTI reported.

The DGCA emphasised the importance of airlines publishing timely information about flight delays and ensuring that staff at airports continuously guide and inform passengers facing disruptions. The SOPs also recommend that, in anticipation of significant delays due to prevalent fog season and adverse weather conditions, airlines may consider cancelling flights in advance to prevent airport congestion and alleviate passenger inconvenience, PTI’s report mentioned.

The issuance of SOPs comes in the wake of fog-induced disruptions at various airports, including Delhi airport, causing inconvenience to passengers. Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia highlighted the efforts being made by all stakeholders to minimise fog-related disruptions in flight operations. He stated, “All stakeholders are working round-the-clock to minimise fog-related impact and passenger inconvenience.”

In response to low-visibility conditions severely affecting flight operations at Delhi airport, Scindia announced additional measures. The DGCA will issue an SOP to improve communication and facilitation of passengers during flight cancellations and delays due to adverse weather. The Delhi airport operator, DIAL, has been directed to expedite the operationalisation of a CAT III-enabled fourth runway, allowing flights to operate in low-visibility conditions.

The Union Minister also addressed the recent incident of an unruly passenger assaulting an IndiGo pilot during a flight delay announcement, stating that such behavior is unacceptable. He urged travellers to bear with the challenges during this difficult period and assured that steps are being taken to mitigate the situation. Scindia also called for strong actions against incidents of unruly behavior, aligning with existing legal provisions.

The Civil Aviation Ministry provided insights into the operational status of runways at Delhi airport during low-visibility conditions. The CAT-III Runway RWY 11R/29L managed 30 landings and 1 take-off during a 4-hour period, while the non-CAT III Runway RWY 9/27 and RWY 11L/29R faced restrictions in flight movements, PTI reported.

Delhi Airport, the country’s largest, handles approximately 1,300 flights daily. Recent disruptions due to dense fog have led to flight diversions and cancellations. The DGCA had previously issued show-cause notices to Air India and SpiceJet for not deploying pilots trained to operate in low-visibility conditions during late December disruptions.


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