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Fog keeps off 5 flights

Siliguri, Dec. 9: Hundreds of passengers were stranded at Bagdogra airport this afternoon after five flights were cancelled because of fog.

The Delhi and Calcutta-bound planes were not allowed to land at Bagdogra and had to return to their points of origin.

K.K. Bhowmik, the airport director, said three of the cancelled flights were of SpiceJet and two of Jet Airways.

“Two flights from Delhi and one from Calcutta of SpiceJet and one Calcutta and one Delhi flight of Jet Airways were cancelled today because of poor visibility and fog,” Bhowmik said.

All five flights would have picked up passengers from Bagdogra and left for Delhi and Calcutta — Bagdogra has no hangar where planes can halt.

While the SpiceJet flights to Delhi were scheduled to depart at 10.40am and 2.55pm, the Jet Airways Delhi-bound flight’s was supposed to take off at 2.20pm.

SpiceJet’s Calcutta-bound flight’s scheduled departure was at 1.10pm and Jet Airways’s Calcutta flight was supposed to take off at 3.25pm.

According to airport sources, the planes were not allowed to land as the visibility was less than the stipulated 2.8km.

Three flights, however, took off from Bagdogra today.

The planes were: Drukair’s flight that arrived from Paro at 10.34am and left for Bangkok at 11am, Air India’s plane that took off for Delhi at 3.15pm and GoAir’s aircraft that left for Delhi at 3.45pm.

The cancellation of flights left several passengers stranded at the airport with no other option but to postpone their journey.

R.K. Burma, an official with a nationalised bank’s Bagdogra branch who was supposed to reach Calcutta tonight to attend a training programme tomorrow afternoon, said he would take the Shatabdi Express tomorrow morning.

“I had a ticket on a SpiceJet flight and I was supposed to reach Calcutta by evening. But I was told at the airport that the flight was cancelled,” Burma, said.

“Somehow I managed to get a ticket for the Shatabdi Express. The train will leave New Jalpaiguri at 5.35am and it’s scheduled time at Howrah is 1.30pm. I have to take the train. I have no other option,” said the resident of Shivmandir in Siliguri.

Awadh Choudhury and his wife Sita Kumari, of Rangpo in Sikkim, were supposed to reach Delhi tonight to attend a wedding.

But they had to change their plans.

“We have to stay in Siliguri tonight and tomorrow we will try to go to Delhi. I am not sure if we will take a train or a flight. We will figure that out later,” Choudhury said.

Airport officials said the passengers would get their compensation according to the terms and conditions of the respective airlines whose services were cancelled.

A passenger can get full refund of the ticket fares or one can be accommodated in another flight.