IndiGo ties up with Met for better weather prediction

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on May 19, 2020

Low-cost airline IndiGo is to provide data to the Indian Metrological Department (IMD) to assist it in better forecasting the weather.

Senior IndiGo officials claimed that IndiGo is the only Indian airline that is undertaking this initiative. There is no tie-up with the IMD and “it is only mutual support being extended to refine the data”, said a senior IndiGo official.

IndiGo officials said this is being done on all flights that currently operates during the lockdown, including cargo and passenger evacuation flights.

This tie-up means that IndiGo pilots will have to do some extra work in the cockpit as they will have to write down the data on flight level (or how high they are flying), wind speed and direction, and temperature. In a statement, the airline said crucial aircraft data on wind, humidity, and temperature is relayed by the aircraft sensors. It adds that this data, which is imperative for accurate prediction of weather, is unavailable to the Met department as a majority of the flights are not operating due to the lockdown.

“This is sent to IndiGo as soon as the chocks are put on the aircraft through a WhatsApp message, which is immediately pushed to the IMD,” the official added.

Normally chocks are put on to the aircraft after it has come to a halt at the parking stand of the airport. Chocks ensure that the aircraft does not slide and is like drivers putting an obstruction under the car wheel to ensure that it does not slip away.

“As the lockdown opens, we are going to provide more data by choosing the flights,” said a senior IndiGo official.

While domestic and international airlines are not allowed to operate regular scheduled passenger flights, cargo flights are permitted. IndiGo operated several cargo flights to West, South East and South Asia, including operating a cargo flight between Kolkata-Guangzhou-Kolkata on May 16, while on May 12, it operated a cargo flight between Kochi and Abu Dhabi that carried fruits and vegetables. It also operated three cargo flights to Singapore and Maldives, among others.

In addition, it operated two special flights to get 197 Kenyan citizens to Mumbai to catch their flight to Nairobi. This included flying 114 Kenyans on the special relief flight that operated on the Delhi-Ahmedabad-Mumbai route, and another 83 Kenyans on the Chennai-Bengaluru-Hyderabad-Mumbai route. The charter was initiated in coordination with the Kenyan Consulate and Indian government.

Published on May 19, 2020

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