Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Softer take-off norms could land you in peril

When every foggy day sends flight schedules for a toss, relaxing take-off norms might seem like the perfect answer to the woes of passengers and airlines. But a few civil aviation experts say the move is fraught with risk.
“The problem with lowering the minimum visibility is that even aircraft that are equipped to operate in CAT I and II Instrument Landing System (ILS) conditions can take off in low visibility but in case the aircraft develops a snag and has to come back, it cannot land in such low visibility,” said a senior official of an airline on condition of anonymity.
It is easier for an aircraft to take off during dense fog but landing is much tougher. Many private airlines that have the permission to operate in CAT II ILS conditions cannot land in dense fog but can take off. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is considering relaxing take-off norms from the present minimum visibility of 500 metres to 150 meters of Runway Visibility Range.
Last year, airline operators like Jet Airways, Air India and SpiceJet had forwarded a request to the DGCA to de-link the norms for take-off and landing.
26/12/06 Sidhartha Roy/Hindustan Times
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