Tuesday, July 27, 2021
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Narrow escapes: Hits and misses

There is congestion over air traffic and with the result of that the passengers reach their destination rather late after failing to get landing clearance from ATC. The number of near misses between aircraft increases by over 80% with a rise in air traffic by 20% and more this year.  ATC felt the glitches and the onus is on the institution to prevent potential collisions. Recently a Spice-jet flight and an Indigo flight were on collision path three times and it was sad reflection on the control system.  As the New Delhi and Mumbai airports are experiencing high number of landings and take offs in a day, the confusion is going on mounting up and it is now or never situation and near hits and misses are part and parcel of the air traffic in India.

Generally the confusion is emanating from the Air Traffic Control (ATC) as the timing of landing and take off coincide causing more confusion and the lurking danger.  In the case mentioned above, Indigo flight ascended parallel to Indigo flight, converging at one point, when they were at the same height and just 300 feet apart literally.  Prevention is better than involving major accidents involving two planes in the mid-air. Indira Gandhi International Airport is the primary international airport of the National Capital Region of Delhi operated by Delhi International Airport Private Limited (DIAL) with a current capacity of handling more than 46 million passengers. IGI Airport has Category 10 rescue and firefighting capabilities with all ARFF personnel trained in rescue and fire-fighting as well as medical first-aid. IndiGo is a scheduled airline with a current fleet of 72 Airbus A-320 aircraft operating flights on domestic and international sectors whereas Spice Jet commenced its operations in year 2005 and as on date have 57 aircraft in their fleet. Airports authority of India (AAI) is a public sector undertaking under the Ministry of Civil Aviation. It was formed by an Act of Parliament and came into existence on 1st April 1995. AAI provides Air Navigation Services in air space measuring 2.8 million squire nautical miles which cover entire Indian air space.

Despite all the controlling measures and precaution, the lack of manpower at ATC cause all the problems and it is high time we should have a rational thinking of providing sufficient staff to man the airport under the guidance of ATC.  It is a difficult task to manage the momentum in busy airports like Mumbai and Delhi but with better infrastructure we can have a better control and thereby make things move in a more organised way, thus giving full security to the passengers.

Calicut Ramani

(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)

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