With the air transport growth curve soaring, India’s air traffic management system (ATM)–and the associated communication, surveillance and navigation (CNS) infrastructure–needs fundamental modernization. Airlines, hit by rocketing fuel costs, have pleaded with the Airports Authority of India (AAI) to reduce congestion in the air and ensure more fuel-efficient landings.
Present ATM challenges for India include insufficient manpower, inefficient use of airspace, bottlenecks in ground infrastructure, inadequate technology CNS/ATM and congestion in the busiest airways. Things are moving in the right direction, but there is further to go.
AAI has put in place ATM initiatives that include improved airport accessibility. The programs include the introduction of the following elements, according to AAI’s general manager for ATM, A.K. Dutta: ground-based augmentation systems (GBAS), performance-based navigation, improved runway safety equipment–such as advanced surface movement guidance and control systems in six airports–as well as improved traffic flow management by 2012 with greater capacity and flexibility provided by systems such as ADS-B and ATFM.
“Infrastructure development should continue at a rapid pace,” said Capt. Saleem Zaheer, flight operations vice president with local carrier IndiGo, at a recent conference organized by the ATC Guild.
“Connectivity to second- and third-tier cities should be augmented with upgrading airport and navigation facilities. GBAS, ADS-B and improved radar coverage would significantly enhance efficiency in Indian skies. With these improvements, by 2020 we will be able to carry 154 million passengers and sustain this growth without penalizing our pockets and our environment.”