Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Nationwide shortage of ATC officers affects BIA too

Nationwide shortage of ATC officers affects BIA too
S Praveen Dhaneshkar, D H News Service, Bangalore:

Believe it or not, but the Bengaluru International Airport (BIA) faces a shortage of Air Traffic Control officers (ATCO). Only 70 officers perform their duties as against the requirement of 140. And BIA is not the only airport to have a shortage. The IGI Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport at New Delhi and Mumbai and Hyderabad airport too faced similar problems of shortage in the recent past.

With a team of 70 air traffic controllers and 50 maintenance personnel, working in four shifts (20 in each), the ATCO’s from the rank of controller to general manager (GM) at BIA handle 280-290 ATM’s (Air Traffic Movements) a day on an average.

Said a senior official from the AAI (Airports Authority of India) here on Monday, “though we have been discharging our duties without any problems, shortages of ATCO’s have been an issue from a number of years.

While the actual requirement is about 140, only half its number have been performing the daunting task. A policy of regular recruitment is needed. With 20-25 ATCO’s retiring every year and officers who are also used to working in an ATC facing adjustment problems when they are transferred and posted at a new airport, the issue has to be addressed”.

Nationwide, there are about 1,500 ATCO’s, only, while the actual requirement stands at 2,500 ATCOs.


However, the AAI has woken up to the shortage of officers and recently recruited close to 300 aspiring ATCO’s to be trained at the Civil Aviation Training College, (CATC) in Allahabad, the sole authority in the country authorised to provide ATCO’s to civilian airports. Those selected after the entrance exam would be sent to the CATC for a training period of six months to a year. The new recruits are expected to join airports by February 2009.


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