Fog delays UAE flights on New Year, passengers stranded

Angel Tesorero /Dubai
Filed on January 1, 2017 | Last updated on January 1, 2017 at 08.55 pm

Flights in and out of Dubai and Abu Dhabi airports continued to suffer delays due to persistent foggy weather condition plaguing the region as hundreds of airline passengers had to endure a cheerless start to 2017.

On Sunday, budget carrier flydubai issued a statement saying: “Over the last four days, our operations at Dubai International (DXB) and Al Maktoum International (DWC) have been severely disrupted by dense fog occurring in the early hours of the morning, which has sometimes lasted until midday.

“This has resulted in a significant number of delays and cancellations to our schedules at a time when passenger numbers are high and alternative flights (and the availability of hotel accommodation) are very limited,” flydubai added.

On its official Facebook page, flydubai has recorded at least 70 flights delayed or cancelled. Despite regular online updates, passengers vented their ire on the low-cost airline after their New Year plans were also cancelled.

“We understand how frustrating this must have been. Our team is working hard to get our passengers moving as soon as possible. Note that the cancellations and delays were caused by the foggy weather,” flydubai replied to its passengers.

In Abu Dhabi, flights coming and bound to India and Pakistan were also hit on Sunday.

An Air India Express 5.30am flight to New Delhi departed only at 11.30am while Shaheen Air’s 4:00am flight to Islamabad was allowed to leave only by 9:00pm and another flight which was supposed to arrive at 2.30am was delayed by more than 16 hours.

“Due to the forecasted fog (passengers) are advised to check (their) flight status through our website or airline, as there may be expected delays,” an Abu Dhabi Airport official said.

An Etihad spokesperson also issued this statement on Sunday: “Etihad Airways diverted one incoming flight from Cochin to Muscat due to a combination of an aircraft technical issue and the fog at Abu Dhabi Airport on the morning of January 1. A small number of departures experienced short delays due to the prevailing fog, however there were no flight cancellations.”

Heavy fog has caused reduced visibility since Wednesday to below 50 metres in some places, which has had a significant effect on operations at Dubai airports.

The fog, however, did not materialise as forecast on Sunday morning which “enabled (flydubai) to operate a larger number of flights than on previous days, which has in turn enabled (flydubai) to transport more passengers to their destination.”

The budget carrier added: “We are currently planning to operate to schedule on Monday. However, fog is again forecast in the early hours of the morning (with visibility potentially reducing to below 100 metres).

“If this fog materialises, our operations will again be impacted,” flydubai noted.

Passengers were advised to contact their travel agent or the flydubai customer centre on (+971) 600 544 445 to rebook on the next available flight without additional cost while those who want to cancel their flight will get a full refund. Moreover, flydubai added that its customer centre has been experiencing very high call volumes.

Fog to continue for few more days

Poor weather conditions are expected to continue over the next few days due to high humidity and falling temperatures, according to the National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology (NCMS).

Monday’s and Tuesday’s forecast is “partly cloudy weather over some areas, especially after clearing fog during morning period. The relative humidity is likely to increase during night and tomorrow early morning over most of coastal and internal areas, with a chance of fog/mist formation.”

(With reports from Ashwani Kumar)

Source : Khaleej Times

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