Integrated air space management from Chennai today

Shishir Sinha Ashwini Phadnis New Delhi | Updated on September 21, 2011 Published on September 21, 2011

From tomorrow the air space stretching from the Bay of Bengal to Thiruvananthapuram will become a little safer, there will be less chatter between pilots and the air traffic controllers (ATCs), and airlines will cut their fuel bills.

Why? Because the air space between 26,000 feet and 46,000 feet in the Chennai Flight Information Region (FIR) will be handled by Chennai control, instead of four different controls as is being done now. At present, individual controls in various cities, including Bangalore, Mangalore, Vizag, and guide aircraft through their flight.

The integration of various ATC radars into one in Chennai will also mean that the cockpit crew flying in the higher zones will have to communicate with only one person rather than various people as happens when they are transferred from one ATC to another during a flight.

Real benefit

“Aircraft flying from the Far East and going to the West will benefit from the introduction of the system. For domestic airlines, the real benefit will be on the Delhi-Mumbai routes,” a senior pilot with Air India said.

A senior pilot with a private airline points out that the real benefit of the system will start coming in when there is an integrated air space management system throughout the Indian airspace. AAI is already working on this and expects it to happen by next year.

At the moment, there are 11 Aircraft Control Centres (ACCs). AAI plans to integrate these into four ACCs initially, and eventually, into two ACCs. The Mumbai FIR will be next to get integrated followed by Delhi and Kolkata, sources said.

Reducing the multiple controls will mean that pilots will be able to maintain a steady height right through the flight which, in turn, will lead to lower fuel burn. This will also result in lower carbon emission by the aircraft.

Published on September 21, 2011
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