Thick haze in Riau disturbs air transportation

Pekanbaru, Riau province (ANTARA News) - Planes heading to Sultan Syarif Kasim international airport, Pekanbaru, Riau province, are forced to circle around before landing due to decreasing visibility, a result of ongoing forest fire in the area, an official stated.

"Almost all the planes intending to land in Sultan Syarif Kasim airport have to wait before the airport authority can confirm a safe landing position for them," airports Duty Manager Baiquni stated here on Wednesday.

According to the airports record, the planes that were made to circle around before clearance from the ground staff are Garuda Indonesia from Jakarta, Sky Aviation from Malaysia, Citylink from Batam and Air Asia from Bandung. Baiquni stated that the incident caused anything between 10 to 20 minutes delays in flight arrivals.

On Tuesday (Feb. 11), Garuda Indonesia, Lion Air and Air Asia postponed their flights to Pekanbaru, Riau, as haze from forest and plantation fires have reduced visibility to 500 meters.

Earlier it was reported that the air in Riau province, especially in Dumai city and Siak district, is on a dangerous level for local people to breathe, following continuous forest fires that have happened in the area.

"Even now thick haze from the forest fire is covering the two areas. According to Index of Air Pollution Standard (ISPU), the air quality in Dumai city and Siak district is on 485 Psi levels, which is considered as very unhealthy and hazardous," Siak districts Chief for Air Quality Control Affairs Irma Suryani stated here on Tuesday.

Spokesman from Riau provinces Health Office Dewani also confirmed the hazardous level of air quality in both the areas in Riau province. She suggested that people stay indoors until the air quality came back to normal.

The government of Riau province had earlier announced a close down of schools on February 11 and 12, following worsening air pollution in the area.

Meanwhile the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) noted that there were 81 hot spots in Riau province namely 26 spots in Bengkalis district, 14 spots in Indragiri Hilir, 13 spots in Siak district, 13 spots in Pelalawan, five in Rokan Hilir, four in kampar district, five in Meranti district and one in Dunai city.

The agency stated that the visibility in the morning is only about 500 meters ahead.

Reporting by FB Anggoro
Translating and Editing by Amie Fenia Arimbi