Monday, August 19, 2019

Small airports to get automatic ATC

Chennai: After trying out mobile air traffic control towers and remote air traffic control units (ATC) for small airports, the Union ministry of civil aviation is considering an automatic air traffic control facility that does not require people on ground at airstrips to guide planes. This is to prepare ground infrastructure to boost regional flights.
A few small airports like Kurnool in Andhra and Mandvi in Gujarat are trying out the small machines that can guide planes to the runway and transmit ground conditions like wind direction and temperature to pilots. Sources said the Airports Authority of India (AAI) is looking at different options to encourage airlines to fly to small airports which are being promoted under the regional connectivity scheme Udan.
As small airports at Vellore and Neyveli, which are waiting for airlines to start services, may have only one flight a day, authorities do not want to set up an air traffic control tower and post controllers in such places. Instead, automatic air traffic control units called Advanced Air Traffic Advisory System (AATAS) is being looked at.
“It is popular abroad and is used as an advisory system for pilots at airfields that have mostly business jet traffic. Small airports in the state will have only day-time flights, so the system may be ideal,” said an official.
“If there is only one service in a few days or one service in a day, the automatic system may be ideal. If traffic increases, it may not be ideal. Pilots use visual landing at small airports during clear weather and need some inputs from the ground about wind pattern and temperature. This can be provided automatically. As AAI may not be able to offer controllers, a few state governments are going for AATAS,” said an official.
19/08/19 Times of India
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