Twenty-one planes fail to land in Prague due to thick fog
Twenty-one aircraft heading for Vaclav Havel Airport Prague today were diverted, another nine flights were cancelled by carriers and some other flights were delayed due to thick fog and a malfunction of the airport’s weather station, airport spokeswoman Klara Diviskova told CTK.
At this moment, the situation at the Prague airport is stabilised and weather conditions enable planes to land, Diviskova said at 16:30.
A total of 136 flights would have landed at the Prague airport under normal circumstances today. It is not, however, clear how many will eventually reach Prague.
“Further operation will depend on the current weather and visibility conditions at the airport until the contractor’s equipment is repaired,” Diviskova said on social network X. It is not yet clear when the weather station will be operational again.
The Czech Hydrometeorological Institute (CHMU) said earlier this afternoon the malfunction of the weather station had been caused by lightning on Thursday. The defect has not been removed yet, the institute said.
“The lightning struck directly into the building of the weather station and caused an outage of central data collection for systems monitoring meteorological parameters at the airport,” CHMU said.
Without accurate weather data, air traffic controllers cannot inform aircrews about conditions at the airport. Many pilots have therefore chosen other destinations for landing today.
The first flight was diverted from the Prague airport at 3:25. Between 5:00 and 6:00, two flights managed to land. After several hours the first aircraft landed again in Prague around 10:00, when the fog cleared, and normal operations were resumed. After 13:00, however, conditions began to deteriorate again. The airport then announced an improvement at 14:30.
Not only fog but also strong winds or snow can cause complications in air traffic. Most recently, on December 22 last year, several flights were diverted due to bad weather and others were delayed. In February 20220, wind gusts of up to 94 kilometres per hour slowed traffic at the Prague airport. Back then, airlines cancelled ten flights.
Carriers are not responsible to passengers for flight delays or cancellations in cases caused by extraordinary circumstances such as bad weather.
The Prague airport handled 11.7 million passengers in the first ten months of last year, 28 percent more than the year before. In the full year 2022, it handled approximately 10.7 million people.