In the wake of severe smog and worsening air quality in Delhi, the United Airlines has temporarily suspended flights to the national capital. One Delhi official said that the pollution is so bad that the city has turned into a "gas chamber".
In what appears to be a rare case in aviation history, United Airlines on Friday scrubbed its direct, non-stop Newark-New Delhi flight, citing air quality issues in India's capital. The carrier operates flights from Newark to Delhi and Mumbai."Due to air quality concerns in Delhi, India, we anticipate possible delays and cancellations throughout the weekend , As Reported By Hindustan Times".
Computer glitches, security issues, refueling and maintenance problems are listed in aviation circles as being among the top ten reasons why airlines cancel flights.
"We are monitoring advisories as the region remains under a public health emergency, and are coordinating with respective government agencies", a United Airlines Spokesperson said here.
The "foreign travel advice" section of the United Kingdom government's website, gov.uk, says, "Severe air pollution is a major hazard to public health in Delhi, and a serious concern in many Indian cities". Pollutants get trapped near the ground, condensing the particles into a thick smog rather than allowing them to disperse into the atmosphere.
Illegal crop-burning by farmers in the neighbouring states has been blamed as the main source of the hazardous pollution. It has also been ranked the 9th busiest airport in Asia and the 20th busiest in the world, and it has racked up awards in recent times for design and maintenance. But poor air quality, declared as a health emergency, has prompted it to call off its services for now.
The recent downturn has made the air even more of a risk. If you want to protect people, we should be ordering the evacuation of Delhi. "Closing down all offices".