DGCA Prabhath Kumar’s approval for the advanced automation system, developed by Indra Sistemas, reached Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram international airports

The Director-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has approved the use of the Indra automation system, installed at the Air Traffic Control (ATC), of the Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi international airports to enhance ensure air safety.

DGCA Prabhath Kumar’s approval for the advanced automation system, developed by Indra Sistemas, a Spanish information technology and defence systems company, reached the two international airports on Monday, official sources told The Hindu.

The DGCA was on a visit to the State capital from Sunday. The ATCs at the two airports had been working on Indra for some time now with DGCA’s temporary approval.

In Thiruvananthapuram, the temporary approval was given for three months in 2013 and later extended by another three months. Sources said the approval had come when the temporary approval term expired on Monday.

The temporary approval was granted on the basis of a 72-hour system acceptance test (SAT) and subsequent operational trial. The premier airport in the State is the fifth in the country to get the system fully funded by the Airports Authority of India as part of upgrade of air traffic management systems at airports.

The new system ensured complete coverage of radars, enhanced efficiency, reduced chances of accidents, sources said. Aircraft would be in continuous contact with the ATC in the two airports while transiting to upper air space. The system would support pilots in attaining ‘economic flight level’ and would drastically help reduce fuel consumption, they said.

Another advantage was that air safety would be enhanced as the ‘blind spots’ with the ATC would be wiped out with the interlinking of radars.

ATC sources said the system would give pilots more confidence as they would always be within radar coverage. In addition, the workload would also be reduced as the navigation was from a single centre.

Inputs from the area control radars in Bangalore and Mangalore and that of the Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) system would reach the Indra automation system in Thiruvananthapuram.

In Kochi, Indra would get the feed from the radar at Nedumbaserry airport, Thiruvananthapuram, Mangalore, Bangalore, and ADS-B. Sources said a DGCA team would inspect the ADS-B system in Thiruvananthapuram soon.