An AirAsia flight from Kuala Lumpur to Chennai, Tamil Nadu was among few other flights delayed and diverted to nearby cities due to thick fog engulfing the airport in the South Indian city today, foreign media reported.
A check on flight data revealed that AK11, which was scheduled to land in Chennai at 7.25am local time, was diverted to Colombo, Sri Lanka.
The aircraft carrying 168 passengers later arrived safely at 11.15am local time when visibility got better, Bernama reports.
“The rare fog condition created some chaos in Chennai airport for the past few days. AirAsia was not the only flight that was affected.
“Flights which were delayed or diverted were those scheduled to land or take off from 6am to 8am today,” said an official based in Chennai airport.
Thick fog condition is a common problem often faced by Northern Indian airports during winter season, but not in Southern Indian cities.
Asked why it was diverted to Colombo, the official said every airport would have some space to absorb flight diversion and it was often the closest and the available ones that would be chosen.
“It’s a common practice in the aviation industry,” he told Bernama.
A Times of India report on Monday said the visibility started to dip about midnight Saturday to as low as 50 metres and since then, several flights scheduled in and out of Chennai were affected.
It quoted an unnamed official from the Metrological Office as saying that the fog was rare in Chennai but condensation of water due to a combination of northerly winds and high moisture levels air affected visibility for around five days in a year in the first two weeks of January.
Hence, similar conditions were likely to prevail for a few more days, he was quoted as saying in the report.