CHENNAI: After Delhi, Lucknow, Pune and Kolkata airports have had torrid mornings, courtesy fog that's straight out of Cherrapunji, it was finally Chennai's turn on Friday. A thick fog cover enveloped the airport's runway and hung in the air till a little past 8 am, causing at least 12 flights to be delayed by 45 minutes to an hour.
The Airport Met Office had been tracking the fog and had asked flights to operate on a 'cautious' basis as visibility was on the lower side, "This is the first time this season that we are seeing such a thick cover of fog in the city, this season. It is because the atmosphere has been stagnant and wind movement has been minimal. It may not occur again for a few days, but similar conditions are expected around Pongal," said the duty officer at the Meenambakkan-based RMC office.
Though flights have been operating with much worse across airports in Central and North East India, caution was the watch word here, given the aviation climate after AirAsia flight QZ 8501's crash last week, "The visibility was even less than 350 metres so some smaller planers were advised against operating till it lifted. The larger planes and international flights in the pre-dawn segment managed to take off before the fog cover came," said an Airports Authority of India official on duty.
Some of the flights that were delayed in leaving from Chennai were Jet Indigo 6E 65, Jet Airways 9W 2341, 822, 2753 and 2409 besides Air India AI 143. Most of the other flights were also delayed but their departure timings were put off by 20-30 minutes.
Incoming flights were also affected as close to 20 planes came in an hour past their ETA - mostly because there was fog at the departure airport to contend with, as well. A passenger in Hyderabad, whose Jet Airways flight was yet to depart even joked on Twitter, "Overheard at hyd airport as we wait for our much delayed #jetairways flight to chennai "Damn, even the #spicejet flight has arrived"..!" Enough said.