Aviation regulator DGCA has approved special visual flight rules operations at Deoghar airport in Jharkhand, a move that will allow aircraft operations at low visibility.
There have been delays and cancellations of flights due to low visibility at the airport, which was inaugurated in July 2022.
The minimum visibility criteria for VFR (Visual Flight Rules) operations is 5,000 meters.
It was observed that during low visibility at the Deoghar airport, there were cancellations/delays of flights, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said in a statement on Thursday.
After extensive consultations with stakeholders, an extensive study on the scope of Special VFR was carried out. Subsequently, a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) was formulated by the airport operator and approved by the DGCA.
"On the basis of satisfactory Flight trials and mitigation measures taken by operators, approval for Special VFR to/from Deoghar has been granted by DGCA.
"The special VFR operations are being introduced for the first time for commercial flights and mark a paradigm shift, which will address delays/cancellation of flights on account of low visibility and will pave the way for enhancing connectivity for other such smaller airfields thereby, promoting Udan/RCS Scheme of Government of India," the statement said.
Prior to the approval, a flight trail was conducted to validate the efficacy of the procedures and coordination among airline operators, pilots, Air Traffic Control (ATC) and the Air Force.
"This flight trial (with no passengers onboard), with a flight operation inspector on board, demonstrated the procedures in real-time, which was followed by satisfactory validation flights," the statement said.
Generally, Special VFR operations refers to operating in weather conditions where the visibility is less than the basic VFR minima.