Virtual towers to manage smaller airports in TN?

Air traffic control could happen from elsewhere instead of the local tower

Published: 29th December 2017 02:39 AM  |   Last Updated: 29th December 2017 07:52 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

CHENNAI: The Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) introduced by Civil Aviation Ministry may have made air travel cheaper, but with it comes the challenges of ensuring safe, efficient and economical air navigation services by installing air traffic control towers at these airports.

As the cost of constructing air traffic control towers is costlier, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) is looking at introducing remote and virtual tower (RVT), a new concept where air traffic service (ATS) at an airport is performed elsewhere than in the local control tower or to go in for air traffic control towers mounted on vehicles.

S Sreekumar, regional executive director, southern region, AAI, said the authority will be implementing a trailer mounted air traffic control tower as a pilot in Vellore where the RCS scheme is to be launched next year. Already mobile air traffic control tower is being taken up on a experimental basis in Surat, he said. Many airports under RCS scheme doesn’t have ATC tower. Construction of a new ATC tower infrastructure would lead to increase in cost, defeating the purpose of RCS, which aims to provide flight services at a low price, said Sreekumar.

It is learnt that AAI, instead of constructing a new ATC tower at every airport, is set to procure mobile ATC towers to manage flight operations at different airports initially. Trailer mounted mobile tower is fitted with hydraulically operated lifts, enabling the tower cabin to rise up to a height of not less than eight metres from ground level to roof-top of tower.

It provides a 360 degree view for the controllers who can perform all visual air traffic service and control functions. But Sreekumar is betting big on RVT. “It will be managed through a satellite station and we are planning to have it in Chennai,” said Sreekumar. Currently, AAI is looking at the pilot project in Ahmedabad.

Salem airport to open on Jan 25

Salem airport, one of the three airports in the State selected under the first phase of the project UDAN or Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik will commence operations on January 25, according to S Sreekumar,  Regional executive director, Southern region, Airports Authority of India. He said the Hosur Airport is yet to get clearance from Bangalore Airport. Hosur, which was initially selected under the first phase of Regional Connectivity Scheme, has to get an NOC to operate flights

Sea plane to become a reality soon

Sea planes and waterdromes will soon become a reality under the next phase of Regional Connectivity Scheme, according to S Sreekumar, Regional executive director, southern region, Airports Authority of India. The waterdromes for operating seaplanes will be set up on lakes, ponds and even sea, he said. He, however, did not give details as to whether it will be implemented in the State. The first sea plane service was launched on June 2, 2013 at Kollam

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