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Force Magazine

Congestion Clearance

As passenger traffic grows in India, investing in state-of-the-art technology for civil airports is imperative

By Atul Chandra

India’s growing civil aviation sector now has an increasing number of scheduled, non-scheduled airlines, flying institutes and private-use aircraft that will require a larger number of airports and airfields to enable air connectivity across all corners of the country.

The Airports Authority of India (AAI) had already begun work on 50 low-cost airports, located in remote and interior areas of the country. In addition to this greenfield airports at Navi Mumbai, Goa, Kannur and Kushinagar, AAI has identified six airports for private management under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) route following the successful implementation of PPP models in Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Cochin.

All these measure will not only lead to more airports but also increased utilisation of existing airports, thus helping to increase air traffic but at the same time putting additional pressure on airspace management. In another recent move, the government allowed flexi use of airspace by civil and military users on a sharing basis, which will enable the available airspace to be used in a more optimised and effective manner.

This will enable greater efficiencies in airspace management, enhancing airspace capacity while minimising delays, conserving precious fuel and at the same time resulting in reduced emissions for a cleaner environment. For passengers the upshot would be less time spent at airports, and fewer delays or flight cancellations.

Catering for all these demands at airports and airfields mean that India is probably one of the largest such markets in the world for civil aviation infrastructure. A number of systems are today on offer that help reduce congestion at airports along with improving safety and efficiency. We take a look at some of them.

The two terms that one hears often when discussing airports is Air Traffic Management (ATM) and Air Traffic Control (ATC). The increased demands for ATM performance as a result of increased air traffic and resultant complexity mean that more distributed decision-making processes are required to support ATC operational personnel.

This is why, according to Selex ES, “currently ATC is moving towards strategic ATM, while at the same time Air Navigation Service Providers need to be supported for improving their services in terms of efficiency and safety.” Selex ES is the result of a consolidation of Finmeccanica’s defence and security electronics businesses. One of the leaders for ATC offerings in India, its new offering is called Standard Air Traffic Control Automation System (SATCAS), the latest generation of Selex ES ATC Systems. SATCAS integrates a wide range of products and tools to comply with heterogeneous operational requirements and ATM environments, ranging from large, nationwide, En Route Area Control Centres to small Approach Control Units. SATCAS is the result of the long-standing experience gained by the company in the ATM domain, through the supply of ATC systems to more than 100 customers as well as active participation in international R&D and standardisation initiatives, working groups and task forces promoted by ICAO, Eurocontrol, and Eurocae. In January last year, Selex Galileo, Selex Elsag and Selex Sistemi Integrati merged to form Selex ES, which operates in India through a fully owned in-country subsidiary.

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