The new navigation system that was to be introduced at Delhi and Mumbai airports from August 1 and expected to decongest these busy airports has been delayed. The new system would increase aircraft movement considerably.
The performance-based navigation system (PBNS) was going to be introduced in Delhi, Mumbai and Ahmedabad airports and would have brought down the present separation of 5 nautical miles (nm) between airborne planes to 3 nm, which would allow more landings and take-offs.
“Introducing PBNS would take some time as equipment has to be installed, people have to be trained and the new procedures have to be notified internationally,” said Director General of Civil Aviation Kanu Gohain. He said the new procedures would be published and notified internationally by August 28. He said all international airlines and international civil aviation bodies have to be informed about the changes so the airlines can prepare for the transition.
At present, maximum 40 aircraft movements (landings and take-offs) per hour can take place at Delhi and about 33 per hour at Mumbai. The new system would mean these numbers would increase by 25-30 per cent.
In the PNBS, aircraft can use installed on-board technology instead of the present ground-based navigation system and would be able to fly more flexibly and accurately. Apart from tackling congestion, aircrafts would also save fuel burn with the new system. At present, aircraft lose huge amount of expensive aviation turbine fuel (ATF) by hovering above these airports while waiting for permission to land.
While new procedures have been prepared by Airports Authority of India (which controls air traffic in India) and air traffic control officers (ATCO) are also trained, airlines need to train their pilots and certify their aircraft for this precision instrument.
“The success of this system depends on more discipline on part of the pilots. They would have to maintain systematic speed and vacate the runway quickly after landing,” said an AAI official.
“To maintain less distance, the aircraft should be ideally of similar size. If there is variation in speed of aircraft following each other, more distance has to be kept,” an AAI official said. “While Delhi and Mumbai are very busy, Ahmedabad has been chosen to acclimatize more ATCOs in a less busy airport,” he said.