New ATC tower at IGI airport, Delhi to start operations by month-end
Officers said the new set up will also help the controllers divide the air space into nine sectors.Updated: May 15, 2019 06:35 IST
Delays at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport, due to congestion in airspace, might soon be a thing of past with the capital’s new “state-of-the-art” air traffic control tower ready for parallel operations by the end of this month.
Officers believe that the new tower, which boasts additional capacity and much advanced systems, will allow them to reduce the number of flights handled by a controller, thereby increasing their efficiency.
Vineet Gulati, member (air navigation services) said that at present the new tower is being tested for its efficiency and to check the navigation systems installed in it. By May end, we will start parallel operations and both the old tower and the new one will be functional.
“This will be done so that if any error occurs during the operations of the new tower, the situation can be controlled from the old one. After that we will start full operations with the new tower and old tower will function in the shadow. By July, all our staff will shift to the new tower,” said Gulati, who is also the head of Airport Authority of India’s air traffic control.
Officers said the new set up will also help the controllers divide the air space into nine sectors.
At present the airspace is divided into five sectors.
“Further dividing the air space will reduce the number of flights handled by one controller per hour. This will increase our efficiency as the new tower can accommodate a larger number of controllers. This will also enable the existing air space to accommodate increased air traffic in future,” said a senior officer from the air traffic control.
The officer said that with the new ATC coming into use, passengers arriving in Delhi can also expect lesser holdover time. “This is called Independent Parallel Approach. With the increased capacity of controllers and workstations at the new ATC, we will be able to station two controllers dedicated to handle arrivals. At present only one controller handles arrivals on the two runways at the same time. This is because we have limited space for workstation at present,” the officer said.
At present, Delhi Air Traffic Control handles more than one flight operation every minute throughout the day on an average. At least 1,100 landings and take-offs happen every day from Delhi airport along with overflying traffic of at least 250 planes. In all, more than 40,000 movements are handled in a month.
The new 101.9 metres high tower is the highest ATC tower in India. Controllers also say that the new ATC tower gives them a better visibility. “It gives us a bird eye view. From here, we can see all three runways, apron area and taxiways. With better visibility, better decisions can be taken. Up here, we need to take decisions in seconds and every time it’s a matter of hundreds of lives,” said a controller, who is not authorised to speak to the media.