DGCA issues SOPs for airlines, says real-time info needs to be shared with passengers

The aviation regulator allows airlines to cancel flights delayed over 3 hrs

Delhi airport A flight taking off under poor visibility conditions at Delhi Airport | PTI

Amid criticism over fligt delays and cancellations at Delhi airport due to adverse weather conditions, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has issued a set of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for airlines.

The airlines were asked to publish accurate real-time information regarding flight delays and appropriately sensitise staff at airports to suitably communicate with passengers.

"In view of the prevalent fog season and adverse weather conditions, airlines may cancel, sufficiently in advance, such flights that are anticipated to be delayed or consequentially delayed on account of such conditions beyond a period of 3 hours with a view to obviate congestion at the airport and mitigate passenger inconvenience," the DGCA said in a statement on Monday.

The aviation regulator noted that it has implemented the Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR) pertaining to facilities to be provided to passengers by airlines due to denied boarding, cancellation of flights and delays in flights.

“The airlines are also required to publish the reference of the CAR on the flight tickets,” it said.

On Sunday, 10 flights were diverted, many were cancelled and delayed, resulting in long waiting hours for passengers at the airport as well as inside aircraft. 

Many passengers took to social media to express their anguish, while a passenger assaulted an IndiGo pilot when he was making an announcement of flight delay onboard the aircraft that was to fly to Goa.

Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said all stakeholders were working round-the-clock to minimise fog-related impact as well as passenger inconvenience. He also asserted that unruly passenger behaviour is unacceptable.

"It is my earnest request to all travellers to bear with us during this difficult period. All stakeholders are trying their best to minimise passenger inconvenience. Incidences of unruly behaviour amidst this are unacceptable, and will be dealt with strongly in line with the existing legal provisions," he said. 

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