Dense fog shuts down airport

Eindhoven Airport
Photo credit: Omroep Brabant

Eindhoven Airport is temporarily at a standstill this morning. The dense fog is making it impossible for planes to land or take off.

The situation is expected to last until at least 13:00, perhaps even longer. According to a spokesperson, delays could continue throughout the day. “It is difficult to predict fog,” they said. Visibility is less than 550 metres. By 10:00, at least one flight has already been cancelled.

Eindhoven Airport has advised passengers to keep an eye on the airport’s website. According to weather forecasts, the Netherlands is expected to remain foggy until tomorrow.

Why does fog affect Eindhoven Airport more?

Eindhoven Airport tends to shut down faster during foggy conditions than, say, Schipol. There are several reasons for this. Firstly, Eindhoven Airport is a category one airport. This means there has to be visibility of more than 550 m before plans are allowed to land here.

Schiphol is much better equipped with lighting and other measures. It falls into the highest category and pilots are allowed to land with at least 75 meters visibility. “Then you don’t even see where you are landing, and you do everything based on the equipment in the cockpit”, says the retired commercial pilot, Jan Van Gisbergen.

There is, however, more to it than just visibility. Van Gisbergen says, “Not all aircraft are equipped with the most advanced equipment. Budget airlines in particular use less-expensive aircraft. They are not always allowed to land at Schiphol even though visibility there is better than 75 metres”.

Crew training also plays a role

Many low-cost airlines land at Eindhoven Airport. That makes it less cost-effective for the airport to invest in reaching a higher visibility category. Then there is the crew factor. “There only has to be one crew member without the right training papers, and then the landing does not take place when visibility is reduced”, adds the retired pilot.

To complicate matters further, there are stricter rules for landings than for departures. When landing, there must be at least 550m of visibility in Eindhoven, for departures, this distance is 300m. “So you may see planes fly off but do not see them land,” Van Gisbergen explains.

Source: OmroepBrabant

Translator: Melinda Walraven

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