|Quoting JulianUK (Thread starter):|
but the smoke is drifting across the runway how do air traffic control handling giving visibilities and what is the pilot to do
There is no difference what is obscuring the visibility.Might be clouds,rain,dust,sand,snow,smoke, etc.tower issues the visibility and the pilot looks if its within his'/aircraft's/companies' limitations. And decides weather to land or not.He uses his common sense added with his technical knowledge.You can always abort the approach or goaround if you don't feel good about the approach.
A rather quick changing weather phenomena is drifting fog and a sand storm.I saw both happening so quickly that I saw the apron cristal clear as we overfly the airport during the radar vectors and ended up an autoland in the first and diversion with a goaround on the second.
Istanbul has two operational runways at the moment.The rwy 06 which was closer to the burning cargo building was closed to operations immediately,not only because of the visibility but there were also fire bomber airplanes flying in the apprach area of that runway .The airplanes you saw landing were using the 36L which is very far and less effected from the actual fire.