Ahead of the Supertech twin towers demolition in Noida on Sunday, authorities have activated airspace restrictions to prevent aircraft from being potentially affected by the dust cloud that will emerge following the destruction of the buildings.
Airspace with an area of a radius of one nautical mile (or 1.8 km) around the demolition site has been declared unavailable for flights to operate at the time of the demolition exercise. Air traffic controllers (ATCOs) operating the Delhi airspace will have to ensure that flights are routed to avoid the restricted area.
Will this affect flight operations?
Given that only a small and localised portion of the airspace has been declared unavailable for use, it only potentially adds up to 8-10 minutes of flight time for aircraft approaching Delhi airport from the east. Flights are already being made to avoid overflying the demolition site, as per information sourced from flight tracking portal Flightradar24.
Typically, when flying over the demolition site, aircraft have begun their approach to the Delhi Airport and are descending, while already flying at less than 8,000 feet. A dust cloud, in the aftermath of the demolition, could potentially cause visibility issues for pilots flying through the area. Authorities have said that the dust will remain in the air for at least 15-20 minutes after the clearance operation.
Authorities declare airspace as unavailable when there are potential hazards along a flight route or at a particular location that could affect the flight. Airspace restrictions are also imposed in case of security threats as deemed by relevant authorities. For example, Delhi airspace is restricted for certain time periods at the time of Independence Day and Republic Day celebrations as well as during rehearsals.