The air traffic control tower (ATC) of the Chennai airport is exploring the possibilities of using an alternative service provider for its communication network, and is in discussion with Railtel, the railway telecommunication network.
A senior Airports Authority of India (AAI) official told The Hindu on Thursday that with the recent introduction of air traffic management automation at the Chennai tower, the need for an alternative service provider was felt. At present AAI is dependent on the BSNL for all its communication such as Very High Frequency (VHF) coverage and Radar Data Processing System.
With a single service provider, whenever there is a problem in the system, the entire network gets affected. Hence, it is proposed to explore the possibility of having an alternative service provider. A dual link is essential for better VHF coverage with re-routing network capacity.
AAI is also looking for a dedicated satellite communication network to improve the VHF coverage and also to get data without any problem when both service providers fail.
Nearly a month after the introduction of new automation system at the tower, the provision of air traffic service in the restructured upper and lower air spaces are satisfactory. So far no major problems have been encountered. The feedback from the airlines community is also encouraging but for minor issues, which can be solved easily, the official said.
In the new system direct routing has been introduced, which helps reduce flying distance up to nine nautical miles for an aircraft from one airport to the other, resulting in reduced fuel consumption and lesser pollution.
Air traffic controllers are able to monitor the aircraft continuously on the networked radar environment. Both air traffic controllers and pilots have been relieved of their stress to a great extent.