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SMOG, RUNWAY CLOSURE CONGESTS DELHI AIRPORT 
By Mihir Mishra, ET Bureau | Updated: Nov 07, 2017, 05.02 PM IST

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First day of smog in Delhi coupled with runway closure at Delhi airport has thrown flight schedule out of Delhi airport haywire with airlines delaying departures. Delhi airport has closed its longest runway (Runway 29) for three days starting today for maintenance.

“It is less the smog and more other reasons that has led to delays in departures,” said an airport source, who did not want to be identified.

He explained that the arrivals at Delhi airport has not been impacted because the minimum visibility at the airport never dropped below 50 metre – Delhi airport has systems that can allow flight operations till the visibility is 50 metres. 

Airlines are reporting delays due to congestion at Delhi airport but say that the delays are due to closure of one runway. Runway 29, one of the three runways at Delhi airport, is closed for three days starting from Tuesday due to maintenance work.

Another source in the know, who did not want to be identified, said that VIP movements at Delhi airport also add to the congestion, especially when one runway is closed.

“There are four categories of VVIPs for whom the airport is completely shut. They are the president, vice-president, prime minister and a visiting foreign dignitary. The operations at airport are completely shut four minutes before the arrival or departure and four minutes after the arrival or departure plus the time taken in landing/take off,” said an official, who did not want to be identified.He added that the Delhi airport is seeing a lot of VIP movement due to elections in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat and a foreign dignitary is also in Delhi today