Amausi just ?a mile? away from air jam! | india | Hindustan Times
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Amausi just ?a mile? away from air jam!

INTERNATIONAL AIR traffic over Amausi is becoming a major safety concern for people and airport authorities alike. But, Amausi bosses have yet to begin the new state-of-art ?Air Traffic Control? (ATC) tower.

india Updated: Oct 06, 2006 00:07 IST

INTERNATIONAL AIR traffic over Amausi is becoming a major safety concern for people and airport authorities alike. But, Amausi bosses have yet to begin the new state-of-art “Air Traffic Control” (ATC) tower.

The flight-to-flight distance is just 1 nautical mile, which experts feel, has increased the risk factor to a great extent. The tenders for taking up the civil work of the new ATC tower at Amausi were invited by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) during April 2006 and the construction of the  facility was to be taken up within three months of  selecting a contractor.

While the contracts were finally awarded in June 2006 to a bidder, civil works for establishing the new control tower were yet to be started at the airport.   

However, Union Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel on his visit to Lucknow in April this year had told this Correspondent that modernisation work for the airport in the Phase II of its modernisation plans for non-metro airports would be complete only by the end of 2007. There have been occasions when aircraft fly too close to each other on a flight path or being at similar altitudes with one aircraft following the other with a distance of just one nautical mile between them while passing over Lucknow, ATC sources told HT Lucknow Live.

The rising international air traffic in the country’s east-west corridor comprising flights passing over the city is putting  a tremendous pressure on air traffic controllers struggling with outdated equipment at the control tower, sources said. The Lucknow FIR is the “diversion point” for international carriers originating from the south-east Asian hubs and the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi. A “diversion point” means pilots are asked by the air traffic controllers to change their position and divert towards the route assigned for reaching a destination.     The primary constraint with the air traffic controllers at Amausi had been that there are more number of  international carriers currently flying  at 20,000 ft or below  at the same time over Lucknow. As a standard guidance procedure the pilots of international carriers are guided over Lucknow for necessary diversion to their assigned flight path for onward destinations.

“There have been occasions when pilots have demanded to ascend to a new altitude which is impossible as too many flights are already assigned altitudes above 20,000 ft which do not need to contact the ATC at Amausi airport for any guidance while flying over Lucknow”, sources said. The busiest hours for the ATC starts at 7.30 pm when international carriers start passing each other at Lucknow FIR.

This is also the time when domestic carriers either land or take off from the Amausi airport while putting pressure on the skeletal ATC staff to manage too many aircraft flying at too many assigned altitudes over the city. Apart from outdated control tower equipment issues, there are staffing problems at the ATC as the Union Civil Aviation Ministry still considers Amausi as a “low density” traffic airport for domestic and international flights where modernisation plans have been aligned with non-metro airports project.