New Delhi: The airspace at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport will remain suspended on January 18 and from January 20 to January 26 for rehearsal and Republic day parade. Following this, flights scheduled between 10:35 AM to 12:15 PM will be affected and those later in the day are also likely to be delayed. Moreover, there will be relaxation in the suspension on 19 January, said news agency ANI.

The shut down of the Delhi airspace is likely to affect over 800 flights which may be delayed or cancelled owing to the Republic Day rehearsals. Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) has asked Air India to cancel seven departures and five arrivals.

As per the new slot management system of the airport, called ‘profile schedule’, three runaways will handle nearly 73 scheduled flights per hour. A Times of India report quoted a DIAL official as saying: “IGIA in consultation with Airports Authority of India (AAI) and NATS (UK-based ATC expert agency) has implemented a profile schedule which has enhanced the overall capacity by almost 13%. However, keeping into consideration the capacity constraints and to minimise inconvenience to passengers, AAI, several major airlines and DIAL consulted on various options and jointly agreed that the best and safest course of action is to cancel domestic flights during NOTAM period. International carriers have been requested to re-schedule.”

In 2018, over 900 flights were reportedly affected as the Indian Air Force (IAF) was scheduled to hold a fly-past as part of the Republic Day rehearsals and parade. DIAL then said in a statement that the flight operations at Delhi airport will remain suspended for nearly two hours (from 10:35 AM to 12:15 PM) for rehearsals from January 18 to January 26. Citing the lack of extra airspace, DIAL had requested the domestic flights to withdraw their operations, while international carriers were asked to reschedule their flights.

(With Agency inputs)