The defence ministry has often objected to aircrafts being allowed to fly over NFZ or VIP 89 which covers sensitive places in Lutyens’ Delhi
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the watchdog of aviation space in India, has initiated a probe into an instance where an aircraft entered VIP, no-fly-zone in Delhi, violating security rules.
A senior official told the daily that the flight took off from runway 27 and flew over the security sensitive area, which includes Parliament house, Rashtrapati Bhawan and Prime Minister’s residence, soon after being airborne.
“Despite instructions to avoid NFZ, it deviated towards left… It flew out of the zone after warning,” the official said.
The defence ministry has often objected to aircrafts being allowed to fly over NFZ or VIP 89 which covers sensitive places in Lutyens’ Delhi. Sources have told the daily that the defence establishment only prefers VVIP and military planes to use runway 27 which is used to take off from or land towards AIIMS/ Vasant Vihar area.
As per civil aviation rules, scheduled commercial flights, military and state aircrafts and small aircrafts with VIPs and national security guards (NSGs) on board are allowed to use the runway. A small deviation from path by the aircraft could lead to breach of NFZ.
“Indira Gandhi International Airport is India’s busiest airport and as it is operating with two NFZs — VIP 89 one one side and then Hindon airspace little beyond — it is a serious handicap in terms of space for aircraft to line up for landing or to fly away after taking off,” the source told the daily.
Shutting a runway on a busy airport due to security reasons could affect “capacity handling” ability of the airport as completion of fourth runway could take three-four years.
According to the official quoted earlier, when more flights reported difficulty in operation on runway 27 due to strong easterly and southeasterly winds, the operations at the runway were stopped.Delhi had witnessed spells of hailstorm on February 7 which led to as many as 38 flights being diverted from the city. The western disturbances caused the maximum disruption between 6 pm and 8.45 pm on that day. Similar disruptions were observed on February 14 and 20.