Two planes can get closer from June

April 15th, 2008 - 8:05 pm ICT by admin  

Mumbai, April 15 (IANS) The Directorate General of Civil Aviation will be implementing performance based navigation system by June, reducing the horizontal distance between two approaching aircrafts from the current range of over 5-7 nautical miles (8-11 km) to three nautical miles (5 km). Directorate General of Civil Aviation chief Kanu Gohain said: “This procedure is followed by all congested airports like JFK in New York and Heathrow in London. Once this system is in place, India will become one of the front running countries in aviation.”

He said the idea is to reduce distance between two aircrafts from over five nautical miles at present to about three nautical miles and handle more flights.

“Pilots, Air Traffic Control and airport managements will need to be trained for this high-precision system to ensure absolute safety,” he told IANS on the sidelines of an aviation safety programme hosted by Jet Airways in partnership with International Society of Air Safety Investigators (ISASI).

He said the airline crew would have to be trained and aircraft certified for Required Navigational Process that specifies the exact approach route from one airport to the other, and R Nav that are navigational aids in which the pilot becomes aware of the location of the aircraft in the sky through radio signals.

However, experts suggest that with little separation, there will be no room for error.

“At present, instances of miscommunication between ATC and cockpits, planes still on runway even as another is approaching to land and most importantly near misses are common. Under the new system, the room for such errors will be minimal as response time will be limited and there will be huge pressure on everyone for a safe flight,” said H.S. Khola, senior civil aviation advisor of International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

He said that with the reduced distance, number of flights in airports like Delhi could go up to 70 per hour from 35-40 at present.

“By reducing the distance, the ATC has to be constantly vigilant and reaction time of both ATC and pilot comes down. There have to be enough measures in place to ensure that safety is not compromised,” said an official from safety department of IndiGo airlines on condition of anonymity.

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