NEW DELHI : Most flights arriving in and departing from Delhi faced delays on Sunday after a thick blanket of smog engulfed several parts of the city. While many of the incoming ones were diverted to other cities and a few were cancelled as the national capital battled thick smog affecting visibility.

According to information provided by flight tracking service provider Flightradar24 at the time of publishing, the average departure delay from Delhi was 49 minutes with nearly three fourth of all the departing flights facing delays and 13% getting cancelled. Arriving flights were delayed by 26 minutes on average with more than half of all incoming flights facing delays and 4% getting cancelled. The Delhi airport handles more than 600 departures a day.

Visibility improved in the late afternoon by the time 37 flights were diverted to other airports. According to official information provided by the government, the air quality index for Delhi was recorded in the ‘severe+’ category in the morning.

National carrier Air India diverted 12 flights, rescheduled 14 and cancelled 4, said an airline official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

"Nine SpiceJet flights have been diverted from Delhi airport (since morning)", a Spicejet spokesperson said in the afternoon.

IndiGo had a total of five diversions from Delhi on Sunday, a spokesperson of the airline said. Vistara reported that some of the flights from Kochi, Ahmedabad and Goa to Delhi were diverted to cities like Mumbai, Amritsar and Lucknow.

Passengers said some of the flights coming to Delhi and leaving from the capital were delayed by up to two hours. Delhi International Airport Ltd. (DIAL) said in a tweet earlier in the afternoon that flight operations in Delhi were affected due to low visibility. Airlines advised passengers to keep extra time in hand for travel due to the bad weather and to check the revised time of their flight before leaving for the airport.

Visibility in the National Capital Region (NCR) took a beating and air quality suffered in the post-Diwali week due to smog that is widely attributed to stubble burning by farmers in neighbouring states.

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