WORLD

Flights Diverted As New Delhi Chokes On Heavy Pollution

Flights to and from New Delhi's international airport were delayed and diverted on Sunday as pollution reached "unbearable" levels, leaving the Indian capital blanketed with heavy smog.
04 Nov 2019 12:58
Flights Diverted As New Delhi Chokes On Heavy Pollution
Air quality has reached "hazardous" levels in parts of New Delhi, following days of heavy smog. Photo CNN

Flights to and from New Delhi’s international airport were delayed and diverted on Sunday as pollution reached “unbearable” levels, leaving the Indian capital blanketed with heavy smog.

Visibility was so poor that 37 flights — including at least one international journey — were diverted from the city’s Indira Gandhi International Airport, a senior airport official told CNN World News.

Pollution indexes saw air quality in the Indian capital climb to “hazardous” levels in the city on Sunday.

Delhi’s Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted that pollution was “unbearable” across North India.

New Delhi has been ranked the most polluted city in the world, according to Greenpeace and AirVisual; a report by the two found that seven of the world’s 10 cities with the worst air pollution are in India.

On Sunday, major airlines including Air India and SpiceJet warned of delays and cancellations to flights to and from the international airport.

The senior airport official said that although planes can land during times of poor visibility, not all pilots are trained to do so.

Thick smog has resulted in several days of low visibility across New Delhi. Photo: CNN

Thick smog has resulted in several days of low visibility across New Delhi. Photo: CNN

“During winter months, when it’s foggy early in the morning and at night, and the visibility is poor, we have a roster of pilots who are experts to land in those conditions, so the schedules are made keeping in mind low visibility. That is something we can plan for,” he said, CNN News reported. “But the visibility dropping suddenly due to pollution — that’s not something we plan for when making pilot’s schedules,” he said. The official said conditions had improved somewhat later in the day, allowing some flights to resume.  

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