Heavy fog causes chaos in the UAE

As a result of dense fog on Monday morning, Abu Dhabi International airport temporarily closed its runways to all aircraft. The weather also led to several road accidents in Dubai.

Fog envelops Al Muneera beach on Monday morning. Deepthi Unnikrishnan / The National
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ABU DHABI // Thick fog blanketed parts of the country yesterday morning, disrupting flights and causing numerous crashes on the roads.

And meteorologists have warned the foggy weather could continue throughout the week.

At Abu Dhabi International Airport, fog caused the runways to be closed to all aircraft at 7.30am.

Etihad Airways diverted 16 inbound flights to five other airports and delayed the arrival and departures of other services.

Last week, the airport reopened its southern runway, equipped with new technology to keep it open in adverse weather conditions, including fog.

But Ahmad Al Haddabi, chief operating officer of Abu Dhabi Airports Company, said the fog was still too thick for aircraft to land.

“It’s not about having the latest technology, but following the General Civil Aviation Authority regulations,” he said.

“The GCAA doesn’t allow low visibility below 125 metres for the airport. Today the visibility was at 75 metres.”

Some of the flights landed in Dubai or Al Ain airport to refuel, then flew back to Abu Dhabi.

The runways were reopened at 9.40am and by 2pm all flight operations were back to normal.

The fog also caused several road accidents in Dubai, although police were unable to provide exact figures for the number of incidents.

Col Jamal Al Bannai, acting director of Dubai’s General Traffic Department, said incidents included a serious accident at 1.47am in the Al Baraha area of Dubai when a pedestrian crossed the road at an undesignated spot. A pedestrian crossing was located only 37 metres from the place where the accident occurred, Col Al Bannai said.

There were also collisions at 7.15am on Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road and at 7.55am on Emirates Road, resulting in serious injuries to motorists.

An official from the National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology said the inland areas of the country will experience heavy fog for at least the next three days.

Last month, similar weather conditions led to the delay of 44 early-morning flights into and out of the country.

The flights were delayed for at least four hours, along with several cancellations.

In March, dense fog led to dozens of flights coming into Abu Dhabi International Airport having to be diverted. Delays were also reported at Dubai International Airport.