New Delhi: A new rule notified by Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for airlines is expected to ground flights even when they can take off in foggy conditions.
The new DGCA rule was meant to make flying safer for us during foggy conditions but what it has ended up doing is ground even those pilots who have the technical ability to fly through fog, adding to the congestion at Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport.
It means bringing airlines, all on one level-playing tarmac, those which can fly in less visibility and those who need clearer weather
The DGCA circular dated January 17, 2010, has put Runway Visibility Range (RVR) for Category C aircraft to 150 meters.
It means that carriers like Kingfisher, Indigo and Indian who have trained pilots to take off in visibility as low as 125 meters, and were doing so till now, have to adhere to 150 meter limit.
The new rule puts them at par with airlines like Jet, Spicejet who can't take off if runway visibility isn't at least 150 meters.
Till now airlines were flying under different RVRs, but the change in rule in dense fog period is actually working to the disadvantage of airlines who have spent crores in training pilots to fly in the very worst of weather conditions.
On January 20 when heavy fog enveloped New Delhi as many as 21 Indigo flights took off at late into the night, when fog was thinning out.
Pilots say they could have left for their destinations at least three hours earlier, when fog was still thick and heavy.
The DGCA has refused to comment but CNN-IBN spoke to pilots across airlines who have confirmed this as one of the reasons for chaos in the air over the last few days.