The Air Traffic Control Officers at the Indira Gandhi International Airport created a new record on Saturday by handling 75 flights in an hour. The ATCOs are now upbeat about setting a new milestone of 85 flight movements in an hour.
The benchmark was reached on Saturday, February 2, when the ATCOs handled 75 flight movements, including both arrivals and departures between 11 am and noon, breaking their own record of 73 flights in an hour set on January 28, 2013.
"That was a day when the airport witnessed fog and we had to clear a lot of backlog. However, we managed to set the milestone within the existing infrastructure that we have at the airport," said a senior ATCO who didn't wish to be named.
IGIA, which has three functional runways, usually operates 55-60 flights in one hour. On Saturday, the two main runways 28/10 and 29/11 were used in mixed mode and the secondary runway 27/09 was used for departures.
"We have been working tirelessly throughout the fog season despite a shortage of ATCOs to tackle flight delays," he said.
The ATCOs, however, have a grouse against the airport operator. "DIAL is constructing a new ATC tower that would be state-of-the-art compared to the existing tower but they haven't provided enough space in the building for our rest and recreation areas and training facilities," he said.
"Despite our efforts, DIAL is not willing to provide these facilities even though we have requested them," he said.
"DIAL has designed and executed the upcoming ATC tower strictly as per the requirements of the Airports Authority of India. The AAI was also involved during the design process and are aware of all facilities within the complex," said a DIAL spokesperson. "We would like to add that apart from normal workspaces, we have also made provisions for a gymnasium and other recreation facilities like in any other modern structure."