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Updated: June 22, 2014 10:57 IST

Mangalore airport takes wings with new Air Traffic Control

Raviprasad Kamila
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The Mangalore International Airport has added another feather in its cap with a new, modern air traffic control (ATC) coming into being. Airport Director J.T. Radhakrishna said they would write to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Monday seeking its permission to commission the new ATC, the trial run of which has already begun.

“The new ATC provides a 360 degree view of the entire old and new runways, approaches to the runways and parking bays,” Mr. Radhakrishna told The Hindu. The existing tower does not provide a clear visibility of approaches for the incoming flights beyond the old and new runways.

The Director said when the airport was handling aircraft on the old 1.6-km long asphalt runway the air traffic tower was in the old terminal building at Bajpe. The old ATC in the intersection of the old and the new 2.45-km long concrete runway was brought into use in 2006. The court of inquiry after the Mangalore air crash in May 2010 had recommended a new high tower on a permanent basis for a clear visibility and fixed June 30, 2014 deadline for it.

The 24-metre high new ATC towers over the old ATC, which stands at a height of seven metres only. The Director said that until the DGCA allowed the airport to operate fully from the new tower, it would serve as a shadow facility to the existing ATC.

The new ATC would cover air traffic up to 60 nautical miles from the airport for the flights landing at and taking off. The old ATC also covered an area of 60 nautical miles. The new air-conditioned tower has two elevators (lifts), a generator, weather radar and all other communication facilities. Air traffic controllers assist pilots in landing and taking off the aircraft, keep constant vigil on the runways, allow or deny permission to airport staff and their vehicles to move on the periphery roads and control the runway lighting.

Crash fall-out

The court of inquiry into the May 22, 2010 air crash in its report had said the existing ATC tower “has limited view of the end of the new runway and also of the new terminal building and parking bays”. The report recommended the new tower to “have adequate space to accommodate meteorological officer”.

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