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Friday, December 29, 2017

Will smaller Indian airports navigation services be monitored by Remote Virtual Tower?

C SHIVAKUMAR @ Chennai:
The Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) introduced by Civil Aviation Ministry may have made air travel cheaper but with it comes the challenges of ensuring safe efficient and economical air navigation services by installing air traffic control towers at these airports.

As the cost of constructing air traffic control towers is costlier, Airport Authority of India is looking at introducing Remote and virtual tower (RVT), a new concept where the air traffic service (ATS) at an airport is performed somewhere else than in the local control tower or to go for mobile air traffic control towers mounted on vehicles.

S Sreekumar, regional executive director, southern region, Airport Authority of India, said that Airport Authority of India will be implementing trailer mounted air traffic control tower as a pilot in Vellore where the RCS scheme is to be launched next year. Already mobile air traffic control tower is being taken up on a experimental basis in Surat, he said.

Interestingly, many airports under RCS scheme doesn’t have ATC tower available. Construction of new ATC tower infrastructure lead to increase in cost, defeating the purpose of RCS, which aims to provide flight services at low price, says Sreekumar. It is learnt that Airport Authority of India instead of constructing new ATC tower at every airport, is set to procure mobile ATC towers to manage flight operations at different airports initially.

Trailer mounted mobile tower is fitted with hydraulically operated lifts, enabling the tower cabin to rise up to a height of not less than eight metres from ground level to roof-top of tower. It provides a 360 degree view for the controllers who can perform all visual air traffic service and control functions.

Sut Sreekumar is betting big on Remote and virtual tower (RVT), a new concept where the air traffic service (ATS) at an airport is managed at far off place. “It will be managed through a satellite station and we are planning to have it in Chennai,” says Sreekumar. Currently, Airport Authority of India is looking at pilot project in Ahmedabad.

Box:
Salem airport to open on Jan 25
EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Chennai:
Salem airport, one of the three airports from the state selected under the first phase of the project UDAN or "Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik", will commence operations from January 25, according to S Sreekumar regional executive director, southern region, Airport Authority of India.

Sreekumar said that Hosur airport has yet to get clearance to operate from Bangalore International Airport. Hosur, which was initially selected under the first phase of Regional Connectivity Scheme, has to get a No Objection Certificate from Bangalore Airport to operate flights .It is learnt that under an agreement no other airport will be allowed to operate within 150km radius from Bangalore Airport. Hosur comes within the 150km radius.

Sea plane to figure in Regional connectivity Scheme
EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ CHENNAI:
Sea planes and waterdromes will soon become a reality under the next phase of Regional Connectivity Scheme, according to S Sreekumar regional executive director, southern region, Airport Authority of India.
 The waterdromes for operating seaplanes will be set up lakes, ponds and even sea, said Sreekumar. He, however, did not give details on whether it will be implemented in the state. The first sea plane service was launched on June 2, 2013 at Kollam with the inaugural flight being operated by Kairali Aviation. However, commercial operations could not start due to opposition from the local fishing community.

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