Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Mumbai airport radio frequency goes down and comes up mysteriously for a day

Mumbai: Late last month, the primary radio frequency on which the new Air Traffic Control (ATC) tower at Mumbai airport communicate with pilots went down mysteriously and came back alive equally mysteriously after 24 hours.

No one knows the exact reasons for the failure even now, though some officials say that the role of amateur hackers cannot be ruled out.

While ATC officials immediately shifted to a backup frequency, they were without a primary frequency for an entire day. Had the backup frequencies too have malfunctioned, the situation would have been catastrophic.

The airport sees more than 800 flight landings and take-offs every day.
Airport insiders claim that it is difficult for a radio frequency to get compromised. But the incident raises the possibility of amateur hackers crawling their way into ATC radio transmission.

Once the transgression was noticed, officials from the Communication, Navigation and Surveillance (CNS) wing, responsible for ATC infrastructure maintenance, first checked at their end.

When they found that everything's fine on their side, they contacted many airlines like Jet Airways, Reliance and Air Works, whose hangars span across a large area.
12/01/16 Shahkar Abidi/Daily News & Analysis
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