Wednesday, December 05, 2018

‘Super’ air traffic controllers for busy hubs like Delhi, Mumbai exempt from routine transfers: AAI

New Delhi: The Airports Authority of India (AAI) is revamping its policy of air traffic controllers (ATCO) deployment at infra-constrained metro hubs like Delhi and Mumbai which are handling an ever-growing number of aircraft movement by taking steps like reducing distancing between aircraft. The authority will have its most proficient and experienced controllers at these hubs and exempt them from the regular policy of transferring ATCOs between different airports with time to ensure that after “easy” Delhi (in terms of quality of living, not work) they serve in a “difficult” place like Leh or Pakyong. The idea is to ensure that only the best safely handle the “bumper-to-bumper” traffic of aircraft in these choked airports.

“It does not make sense for controllers who are super efficient in handling peak rush hours at a place like Mumbai and then send them to an airport, as per regular rotation policy for all Airports Authority of India (AAI) personnel, where they will handle two flights in a day. Their experience and proficiency is needed in the busy airports and we are accordingly drawing up a policy of ATCO deployment,” said Airports Authority of India (AAI) chairman Guruprasad Mohapatra.

Under existing policy, controllers have to be rotated between “soft”, “hard” and “out of region” airports. “Worldwide attempts are made to specialise ATCOs at an airport, depending on the density of traffic. It is similar to letting a doctor specialise in a particular line. We are going to do the same for our highest density corridors and airports,” Mohapatra said.
AAI is now going to focus on two things for ATCOs — have a highly specialised cadre of 100-150 controllers who are trained for high traffic corridors. Six corridors in India can be considered high density, of the six metros. “Managing a high density corridor/airport is not the same as managing a low density one. We will have a core team of ATCOs for these places. They will be from mid career with long years of service remaining. They will be given the highest possible level of training globally,” said the chairman.
05/12/18 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India
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