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Sofia airport in for more fog trouble

Date: 07.12.2007

Sofia's airport is set to experience even more fog trouble in the coming months, a top official said on Tuesday.

The airport was blanketed by fog around the clock on November 22-23 and 25, but that will pale in comparison to the weather expected in December and January, the head of the company that provides traffic control services to the airport, Emanuil Radev, said.

Statistically, 11 days in December and 12 in January are foggy, with horizontal visibility under 1000 metres, he added.

Sofia airport's runway is outfitted with a category II instrument landing system, which allows landing when vertical visibility is 30 metres and horizontal visibility of at least 350 metres.

But last month, the fog blanket cut horizontal visibility at the runway to 200 metres, which would require at least a category III A certification.

It would take coordinated efforts from the state-owned traffic control company, civil administration authority, the airport authority and the airlines, which will have to assign experienced crews, to upgrade the runway to category III, Radev said.

The fog last month disrupted both landings and take-offs of flights by major airlines.

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