Flight schedules disrupted as visibility at Penang airport drops

A view of the Penang Bridge this morning.

GEORGE TOWN: A drop in visibility levels has caused disruptions in flight schedules as the haze shrouding much of the country continued to hit very unhealthy levels in many areas today.

Penang International Airport (PIA) senior manager Mohd Nadzim Hashim said Silk Air flight MI 346 from Singapore to Penang was forced to divert to the Kualanamu International Airport in Medan.

He said a UPS Airline cargo plane scheduled to depart from Penang to KLIA was unable to take off as planned, as was a Lion Air flight from Medan to Penang.

A FedEx cargo plane from Penang to Bangkok was also delayed.

“Visibility from the PIA control tower has dropped to 1.5km from more than 10km on a good day,” Nadzim said when contacted.

He added that the runway visual range for both runways at PIA is at 1,700m.

Balik Pulau was the first district in Penang to breach the very unhealthy 200 air pollutant index (API) reading as of 7am this morning. It was followed by Gelugor, which recorded an API reading of 203 as of 10am.

The API on the island was hovering at 205-225 as of 11am, while Seberang Perai recorded API levels of between 156 and 163.

An API reading of 0-50 shows good air quality; 51-100, moderate; 101-200, unhealthy; 201-300, very unhealthy and over 300, hazardous.