Thursday, November 16, 2017

Remote ATC proposal of AAI for Surat opposed

Surat: Airport activists have opposed Airports Authority of India's (AAI) proposal to set up a remote air traffic control (ATC) for Surat airport to be operated at Ahmedabad airport in order to cut costs and overcome staff shortages.
'We Work for a Working Airport at Surat' (WWWAS) has written to AAI chairman stating that the remote ATC is not needed for Surat airport, which has daily flight movement of 20 aircraft and monthly passenger load of 60,000.
WWWAS members stated that remote ATC is needed at underserved or unserved airports falling under regional connectivity scheme (RCS), where only two to three flight movements are recorded every day.
Surat has daily movement of 20 scheduled flights and many unscheduled flights with monthly passenger traffic of an average of 60,000. The passenger movement will increase to almost 75,000 with SpiceJet launching Surat-Goa, Surat-Chennai and Surat-Jodhpur flights from December 7. Apart from this, SpiceJet will be launching Surat-Bengaluru flight from December 18. This will increase daily flight movement to 26 by December.
"Surat airport is in the top 50 list of airports in India according to a 2016 survey. At present, it is on the 37th position in India and by 2018, Surat airport will be at the 32nd position. Still the AAI considers Surat as a small airport and wants Ahmedabad airport to control the ATC of Surat," WWWAS member Sanjay Jain said.
Sources said remote ATCs allow the concrete control towers at the airports 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. This technology is already in use in Australia, Canada, Ireland, Sweden and many other countries. The remote ATC towers enable flights at multiple airports to be monitored from one location, reducing the need for air traffic controllers and physical towers at every airport. A few companies based in Sweden and Canada are in talks with the airport regulator to bring the technology to India.
16/11/17 Times of India