M A I N   N E W S

Ministry steps in to sort out airport chaos
AAI upgrades landing system; airlines to meet today
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 26
Even as the Airports Authority of India (AAI) today upgraded the landing system at Indira Gandhi international Airport to CAT-III-B from CAT-III-A to help pilots to land aircraft even in thick fog, the Ministry of Civil Aviation has stepped in to sort out the chaos created at the New Delhi airport following cancellation of flights, specially by low-cost airlines.

With the passengers resorting to dharna and sloganeering even getting involved in scuffles with the junior airlines staff at the airport yesterday, the Ministry of Civil Aviation has taken serious note of the unhelpful attitude of the airlines officials and called a meeting of all airlines tomorrow.

The meeting has been called by the Secretary, Civil Aviation, Mr Ajay Prasad, and would be attended by senior officials of all airlines, including private and low-cost airlines.

The Secretary is expected to work out the best possible solution with the airlines to ensure that passengers are put through minimum inconvenience.

The AAI today upgraded and put into use the landing system from CAT-III A to CAT-III B under which the visibility required is only 50 metres. The new instrument landing system (ILS) has been installed at the main runway and has been air-calibrated to conform with the specifications set by the International Civil Aviation Organisation, an official spokesman said here today.

However, industry watchers remain skeptical of the situation improving at the airport as most airlines, with the exception of Indian Airlines, Air-India and foreign airlines, do have pilots trained to land aircraft on the CAT-III systems, whether A or B.

Officials said that some of the other measures being taken were that runway markings and the airfield lighting system were also being upgraded to meet the requirements of the CAT-III B operations.

Under CAT-III A, the aircraft required 75 metres for runway Visibility range (RVR), but under the new system, only 50 metres RVR is required for the plane to land.

The spokesman said for detecting the aircraft and vehicles on aircraft movement, a surface movement radar (SMR) has been installed. Under this system, a controller display is provided at the Control Tower wherein the positions of vehicles in the manoeuvering area is displayed to prevent any untoward incident.

The whole system has been checked in actual operational environment with the help of an aircraft and vehicles. A mock drill was also conducted on December 22. In addition to this, “follow me” jeeps are being provided on request of pilots.


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