The Jakarta Post
Several flights had to circle around the Sultan Syarif Kasim Airport in Pekanbaru for 25 to 30 minutes on Tuesday morning due to thick haze caused by forest and brush fires.
'The flights were disrupted due to low visibility of 400 to 500 meters this morning,' said Hasturman, the head of operations for the airport's operator Angkasa Pura II as quoted by Antara news agency.
Flights from Garuda Indonesia, Lion Air and Citilink are among those being disrupted by the haze. None have been diverted yet.
"Safety is our priority. If the visibility is below 1,000 meters and pilots cannot see the runway, then they are not permitted to land," said Hasturman.
According to the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) in Pekanbaru, several regions were blanketed with a thick haze on Tuesday at 7 a.m. due to polluted air mixed with dew.
Besides Pekanbaru, Pelalawan is also experiencing thick haze with visibility of only 500 meters. Other cities such as Dumai and Rengat (Indragiri Hulu) are blanketed to a lesser extent, with visibility of two to three kilometers.
According to a spokesman for Riau's Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD), Edward Sanger, the thick haze seen in Pekanbaru and other regions is most likely due to fires in Jambi and South Sumatra.
He added there are currently 33 and 36 hot spots detected in Jambi and South Sumatra respectively.
According to the BMKG, Riau itself is currently home to two hot spots, in Kampar and Pekanbaru; a decrease from Monday when it had up to 15. (edn/kes)(++++)
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