Thursday, August 24, 2017

India eyes remote air traffic control towers for regional airports

New Delhi: India is considering setting up remote air traffic control (ATC) towers to cut costs and overcome labour shortages, government sources told Reuters, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi looks to open dozens of regional airports to boost air travel.

Remote monitoring allows traditional concrete control towers to be replaced with dozens of high resolution, infra-red cameras around runways that feed live images to screens in buildings far from the airport.

The technology, used in countries including Australia, Canada, Ireland and Sweden, enables flights at multiple airports to be monitored from one location, reducing the need for air traffic controllers and physical towers at every airport.

The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has initiated a study on remote monitoring of flights, with a recommendation expected in September, one of the sources said. A decision to proceed could be a boost to companies like Sweden's Saab and Canada-based Searidge Technologies that are in talks with the airport regulator to bring the technology to India.

"India is one of the biggest opportunities in terms of the business potential," said Varun Singh, marketing director at Saab India, adding that it has held several discussions with the airport regulator.
Searidge, which has set up remote digital towers in Hungary, Albania and Azerbaijan, said it has also presented its technology to the airport regulator.
The AAI is working with India's aviation safety watchdog, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), on the study and has sought information from countries where remote towers are in use, one source said.
The plan hinges on DGCA's approval because remote tower technology is not standardised by the International Civil Aviation Organisation, which is still drawing up regulations. In the meantime, countries follow their own safety guidelines.
24/08/17 Reuters/Economic Times

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