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Wed 28 Dec 2016 10:57 AM

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Heavy fog disrupts airport operations in GCC

Fog causes delays at Dubai Airport, Bahrain closes runway, motorists report ‘long tailbacks’

Heavy fog disrupts airport operations in GCC
(Image: instagram/the_flo)

Dense fog covered most of the UAE on Wednesday morning, delaying flights at Dubai and Bahrain airports and resulting in 13 flight diversions early in the day.

The UAE’s National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology (NCMS) warned of fog formation with poor visibility of less than 50 metres over most coastal and internal areas of country and highways. The weather bureau also reported fog over Al Maktoum, Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah airport.

In a statement sent to Arabian Business, a spokesperson for Dubai Airports said normal operations at Dubai International Airport (DXB) were disrupted in the morning due to heavy fog, resulting in a number of delays and a total of 13 diversions, while six inbound flights to Abu Dhabi were diverted to other airports in the Gulf.

“Dubai Airports is working with airlines, air traffic control, the ground handler and control authorities to restore operations and minimise inconvenience to our customers,” the statement from Dubai Airports said.

A spokesperson for Abu Dhabi Airports said: "Due to low visibility weather conditions this morning, Abu Dhabi
Airports confirms that six flights were diverted to other regional airports.

"The diversions were requested by the concerned airlines as the pilots were not certified to land in
such weather conditions. All other scheduled flights are operating normally
 today with no significant delays reported."

In Bahrain, as many as 2,000 passengers were reportedly affected by flight delays and cancellations as thick fog covered parts of the country overnight.

Bahrain International Airport closed its runway last night due to low visibility causing several flights to be suspended, according to Gulf Daily News. Other flights set to land in Bahrain were diverted to other regional airports. However, Bahrain Airport Company (BAC) confirmed that normal operations resumed at the airport at 5am, the newspaper said.

It quoted BAC CEO Mohamed Yousif Al Binfalah as saying: ”Due to low visibility experienced at the airport between 9.20pm on December 26 to 4.30am on December 27, departing flights operations were suspended while a number of arriving flights were diverted to other regional airports.

“Approximately 2,000 passengers were impacted by the runway closure. However, BAC along with its airport partners took the necessary measures to address the disruption to passenger’s delayed flights. Flights have resumed and the runway was opened for all departing and arriving flights with the first flight landing at 5am.

“We would like to advise all passengers to contact their airlines to reconfirm new flight details.

Arabian Business has also contacted Abu Dhabi International Airport, which had not reported any delays or disruptions at the time of writing.

Meanwhile, UAE motorists reported long tailbacks on Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road when driving into Dubai from Sharjah.

In a tweet, Dubai Police urged drivers to use low beam lights and indicators when changing lanes, and leave enough distance between vehicles.

Staying safe while driving in fog – tips from Emirates Driving Institute

# Keep your minimum safety gap in foggy condition to four seconds.

# Slow down. Most fog-related traffic fatalities occur because of over speed and when you can't stop in time to avoid a collision.

# Make sure that you can be seen. Turn on your fog lights, if fitted with and use low beams. Low beams direct light down onto the road and help other drivers to see you.

# If you leave the road, be sure to pull off completely. Turn off your driving lights and turn on your four way flashers so others know you're there but won't think you are driving on the road.

# Always use the low beams of head lights and use the fog lights in addition to low beams, if fitted with. It is illegal to use only fog lights in some of the countries. Never use high beams, as they only light up the fog and make seeing more difficult.

# Always use your defroster and windscreen wipers in foggy conditions to keep the windows clear. Remember that the problems of fog driving become greater at night.

# Keep an eye on your speedometer and maintain a slow, constant speed.

# Remember that other drivers have a limited sight distance and that fog can leave roadways slick. Signal early and when you use your brakes, don’t stomp on them.

# Make sure to keep the window open at least a crack, to hear better outside. This can help you hear approaching vehicles that you can’t see.

# Use the right edge of the road (also known as fog line) as a guide rather than the center line, to avoid running into oncoming traffic or becoming distracted by their headlights.

# Never drive keeping the four way flasher on which you may forget to switch off before you signal to right or left direction and it is too difficult for other road user to make out the change of flasher from four ways to single direction.