Tuesday, December 30, 2008

BIA gets Rs 18 crore safety device

BIA gets Rs 18 crore safety device

The new equipment will help Air Traffic Control personnel monitor movements of aircraft from the apron to runway

Gayatri Nair
Posted On Tuesday, December 30, 2008 at 01:07:23 AM

Visibility woes that plague Air Traffic Control (ATC) personnel at the Bengaluru International Airport (BIA) are going to become a thing of the past.

The airport is all set to commission a Rs 18-crore device to improve the monitoring of aircraft at the apron (where the planes are parked), taxiway and the runway.

the control device
Called the Airport Surface Movement Control System (ASMCS), the device will assist ATC personnel, who now monitor the movements of aircraft using a high frequency radio communication channel. But on foggy mornings and nights, visibility becomes low and ASMCS is adept at handling such situations.

“The ATC staff depend on their eyes and little else to monitor the movement of aircraft. With this equipment in place, this job will become easier and create accident-free conditions at the airport,” an ATC personnel told Bangalore Mirror.

“Every vehicle and aircraft in the operational area has a transponder. As soon as they enter the operational area, they can be spotted on the ASMCS radar and their location verified,” he said, explaining the device.

The Italian connection
Though the Italian company Selex has installed the device at BIA it has not been commissioned for reasons that are still not clear.

On the delay in commissioning, BIA sources said it was because both the ATC and the Airport Authorities of India (AAI) were at loggerheads.

Commissioning delays
While the ATC is blaming the AAI for the delay in commissioning the equipment, the AAI has rubbished the same, claiming that the equipment is not critical for the functioning of ATC.

“About ten days ago, a letter was sent to A N Vishwanatha, general manager of Air Traffic Management, AAI, asking him to commission the equipment. But we are still awaiting his reply,” said ATC sources about the delay.

When contacted, Vishwanatha rubbished the charges. “The company, Selex, which has to configure the equipment, was busy with its installation at the Hyderabad airport. They were supposed to come to Bangalore in the beginning of December. But they went back to Italy in the wake of recent terror attacks. They will be back in January and the work will be completed,” he said.

The equipment, according to him, was not vital for the airport. “It is not such a vital equipment, keeping in
mind the traffic density at BIAL,” he said.

Citing the example of Mumbai airport, where the equipment has not been in use for the past ten years, Viswanatha said that if it would be of use in the future when air traffic improves. “Yes, in the future, when traffic density increases, it will be helpful. But now it does not really matter,” said Viswanatha.


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