Airports to get automated system to deal with fog

CHANDIGARH: As the aviation sector grapples with progressive increase in air traffic and deteriorating weather conditions in the subcontinent, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) in collaboration with the India Meteorological Department (IMD) is installing Integrated Automated Weather Observing System (IAWOS) at 18 airports across the country to meet operational exigencies and mitigate economic losses.

Airports to get automated system to deal with fog

Vijay Mohan

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 1

As the aviation sector grapples with progressive increase in air traffic and deteriorating weather conditions in the subcontinent, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) in collaboration with the India Meteorological Department (IMD) is installing Integrated Automated Weather Observing System (IAWOS) at 18 airports across the country to meet operational exigencies and mitigate economic losses.

The IAWOS provides continuous, real-time information and reports on weather conditions prevailing over an airport and disseminates weather data through a computer-generated voice message which is broadcast via radio to pilots in the vicinity of an airport. These messages are also available over a telephone dial-up service or ground data link. It consists of various meteorological sensors, data acquisition systems, processing and transmitting units.

According to AAI sources, the proposal of setting up the IAWOS has been approved and the tendering process would be initiated shortly for executing the project, with preference being given to made-in-India products.

Weather plays an important role in aviation operations and factors like visibility, wind speed, fog, rain, thunder and cloud cover being critical during landing and take-off. Visibility is a serious issue during winter months, particularly in north India and north-east India due to fog.

In the first-of-its-kind study on “Loss to aviation economy due to winter fog in New Delhi,” jointly published earlier this year by scientists from the IMD, Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune, and Department of Environment Sciences, Pune University, pegged the loss suffered by airlines at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) at $3.9 million over a five-year period due to delays, cancellations and diversions.

Another recent study has shown that the number of dense fog hours at IGIA has almost doubled in the last three decades and may increase in the future. At the same time, the air traffic at IGIA has also increased significantly in the last decade and is expected to increase two-fold in the near future, thereby causing further increase in economic losses to airlines in India during the winter season, the study cautioned. Fog, heavy rain, dust storms of haze also impacts airport operations.

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