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Jakarta Post

Passengers crowd Pekanbaru airport as haze grows thicker

Rizal Harahap
Pekanbaru, Riau   ●   Thu, September 3, 2015

Hundreds of passengers crowded an airport in the Riau provincial capital of Pekanbaru on Thursday as flights were delayed as haze grew thicker in city, caused by intensifying forest fires in Riau and its neighboring provinces.

'€œThose passengers are certainly disappointed because their flights have been delayed. But they understand because they also don'€™t want to fly in such conditions,'€ officer in charge at Sultan Syarif Kasim II Airport in Pekanbaru Tony Hendri said on Thursday.

He said that the airport had distributed food and drink to the waiting passengers.

Tony said that 15 flights had been delayed as visibility at the airport had decreased. '€œThere is no other choice but to wait for the haze to clear. With such visibility, the pilots cannot see the airstrips,'€ he added.

Based on reports from four monitoring posts of the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) in Pekanbaru, visibility was 200 meters in the morning, having worsened from 500m on Wednesday.

Haze has disrupted flights at the Riau airport since Tuesday. On Wednesday, 14 flights were delayed, including a plane that was scheduled to take haj pilgrims to Mecca.  Meanwhile, nine other flights were suspended.

Haze also disrupted flights to and from Dumai and Rengat. The visibility in Dumai and Rengat regencies was 300 meters and 800 meters, respectively.

'€œPelita Air and Trans Nusa, serving Dumai-Jakarta and Dumai-Batam could not fly as scheduled,'€ said Pinang Kampai Airport in Dumai head Catur Hargowo.  (bbn)