Monday, January 01, 2007

In need of Cat III

No, we're not talking about felines here. Cat III refers to Category III Instrument Landing System (ILS) technology, that allows aircraft to land in low to zero visibility conditions. Cat III enters the vocabulary every winter in India, when fog regularly shuts down Delhi airport, and sends air traffic around the country into a chaotic tailspin. One of the biggest problems is that there are very few Cat III equipped aircraft and trained crews. International flights do better, but sometimes (I don't think that DEL is Cat III-C equipped, i.e. zero visibility landing) even these get affected.

Tonight's one of those nights
: domestic flights are being cancelled, or rerouted to Lucknow or Kanpur. International flights are being re-routed to Bombay or Karachi or Islamabad (Oh boy, I love the Pakistanis love getting airplanes full of Indians).

And it's not forecast to get anybetter.

Well, I'm scheduled to fly Jet Airways (9W3704) to Delhi tomorrow evening. The BDQ-DEL route is served by an ATR -72 turboprob. I doubt that it's Cat III equipped.

Then, Wednesday night I'm scheduled to fly out on CO83 DEL-EWR. The inbound flight, CO82, has had difficulty reaching Delhi the last few days. Yesterday's flight was diverted to Islamabad, then Bombay (if I'm reading the slightly garbled info on the CO flight status website), and is reaching Delhi only today. I presume that yesterday's outbound CO83 was cancelled. Tonight's CO83 is leaving, it seems at 1:30 pm tomorrow, over 12 hours behind schedule.

So, fingers crossed that a) I can reach Delhi tomorrow evening and b) I can leave Delhi on time on Wednesday!

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