A software malfunction is suspected to have caused the minor blip in the Mumbai airport’s new radar system on Sunday.
Airport officials said the exact cause of the snag that led to departure delays of about 20 minutes on Sunday would be clear only after Raytheon, the radar’s US-based manufacturer, submits its report next week.
On Monday, engineers from the Airport Authority of India (AAI) and Raytheon had a meeting to discuss the snag. “The manufacturer is likely to replace a software to avoid such snags in the future. But it is too early to comment on the cause,” said a senior AAI official requesting anonymity as he is not authorised to talk to the media.
MC Dhangi, general manager, air traffic control (ATC), Mumbai, was not available for comment.
At least four flights scheduled to fly out of the city were delayed early on Sunday morning when the new radar system called Autotrac-III went into a degraded mode. The new system is being tested on trial basis.
It took the air traffic managers 15 minutes to switch back to the old system called Autotrac-II. “The new radar system was unable to perform nearly three-fourth of its functions. All these functions are critical for flight operations,” said an ATC official.
Airport sources said Sunday’s incident was the third time that Autotrac-III had encountered a problem in the country since its installation at Delhi airport last year. On July 28, 2010, radar screens at Delhi airport blanked out resulting in flight disruptions for 30 minutes. A similar incident occurred on January 14.