NEW DELHI: The US is coming to the aid of passengers fed up with hovering over choked Indian airports like Delhi and Mumbai.
On Friday, American aerospace major Boeing shared its expertise with authorities here on more effective utilization of airspace by allowing planes to safely fly closer at congested airports and enable faster touchdowns.
India has decided to start switching over to the new system by early July and in first phase it will be done at the three most congested airports at Delhi, Mumbai and Ahmedebad. The actual reduction will take place once all stakeholders â€” pilots, ATCs and airports â€” are trained for the system in a few months.
Boeingâ€™s presentation, made at the behest of DGCA and AAI, came just as an eight-member team of USâ€™ Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) finished its tour of India and also as an American consulting company, Maitre Corp, gave its final report on "performance based navigation" that would allow reducing separation from eight to five nautical miles between planes approaching to land at congested places.
Armed with Maitre report, which has been circulated to all airlines, and Boeingâ€™s knowhow on how to actually implement the same, India is planning to start switching over to the new system by early July. "One of the early things happening under the aviation cooperation programme between India and US is that Maitre has finalized its report for better effective management of airspace at Delhi and Mumbai. The report, a roadmap for that, has been given to AAI and DGCA. The AAI will start implementing new procedures in a month. This will lead to reduction in separation between aircraft and save time once the preparedness is in place," said aviation secretary Ashok Chawla.
Boeing, which has considerable experience of e-enabling planes, gave its know how on performance-based navigation.
"The new procedures will help fix planesâ€™ position vis-a-vis ground with radio signals using satellites and ground radars. It will help navigate planes at closer distance in both difficult terrain or congested airspace. It is similar to using technology to help planes land using instrument landing system category II or III. All this will help planes fly safely at much lesser separation than currently maintained. Boeing gave a complete overview on how the new system is to be used," said an official. The presentation was made to airline pilots, ATCs and aviation authorities.
Before winding up its India visit, the eight-member FAA team identified the key areas of support with India. These include radar network, airworthiness and airport and ATC management. The team also visited ATC towers in Delhi, Mumbai and Jaipur to assess the actual ground situation. The new performance-based navigation system will be of great help in Delhi and greatly increase the capitalâ€™s capacity as the third runway is soon going to be operational. In Mumbai, however, it will help increase runway capacity but the authorities made it clear that the financial capital needs a second airport desperately, at the earliest, as there is no alternative to email@example.com