Thursday, January 04, 2007

Pilots not trained for CAT III

New Delhi: Even airlines like the national carrier, Indian, which claims to have planes fitted with the modern systems, don't fly during fog, because training pilots to fly high-tech comes at a high cost.
The CAT III instrument landing system lets planes land in fog. But though air travel has grown, private airlines are still dragging their feet to train their pilots on CAT III.
The cost of training pilots to fly in fog is high - about Rs 3 lakh per pilot.
Each airline needs at least 30-40 pilots to fly their normal schedule from Delhi during winter.
But high tech landings also involve high tech airports. Airlines say that fog affects not just Delhi but others north Indian cities like Jammu and Srinagar that do not have any hi-tech landing system.
So what's the point of taking off from Delhi and not being able to land?
Airlines also say that sometimes fog can be so thick that even a completely CAT III complaint airport like Heathrow recently ended up with a huge backlog.
03/01/07 Sandeep Phukan/