Haze: Two flights diverted due to poor visibility

The Star, 21 June 2013

JOHOR BARU: Poor visibility at the Senai International Airport here forced two flights to be diverted to Kuala Lumpur.

A Firefly aircraft from Subang Airport, which was scheduled to land in Senai at around 11.30am yesterday, was forced to return to Subang.

An AirAsia plane from Sibu, slated to land here at about 1.30pm, had to be redirected to the Low Cost Carrier Terminal in Sepang.

“We are not taking any risks as the visibility at the airport was about 400m at 11am, and could pose a risk to passengers,” a Senai Airport spokesman said.

He said there were no problems for flights taking off and landing at the airport before 11am as the visibility was about 3,000m.

However, most of the flights going out from, or coming into the Senai Airport, had to be retimed or delayed due to the haze.

Meanwhile, at Johor Port in Pasir Gudang, vessels were moving as usual despite the area recording one of the highest Air Pollutant Index (API) readings in the country.

Yesterday’s reading at the port was 333, which was deemed “hazardous”.

A port spokesman said the vessels did not face any problems as they were equipped with navigation systems which allowed them to operate effectively even if visibility was poor.

“However, we will monitor the situation to ensure smooth sailing for vessels entering and leaving our port area,” he added.

The spokesman also said the port’s Health and Safety Department had started distributing face masks to between 500 and 600 workers.

Muar marine police chief Asst Supt Nordin Osman said visibility in the Malacca Straits was still low and advised the captains of all vessels to be on the alert when plying the waterway.

“The weather can turn very hazy at night and we urge fishermen to be very careful if they go out to sea at night,” he added.

In Sepang, Malaysia Airports senior general manager (operation services) Datuk Azmi Murad said flight frequencies at the KL International Airport (KLIA) were unaffected so far.

“There have not been any disruption, but we are working with the airlines to monitor the situation,” he said.

“In the past, we have had some flight cancellations (because of haze), but they were all due to the situation at destination airports, and not at KLIA,” he said.

“It all depends on how bad the haze situation is, but so far it has not affected our operations.”

Azmi said KLIA handled an average 900 landings and take-offs daily.

Source