IAF, Airports Authority of India join hands for airspace management

September 2nd, 2008 - 12:08 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 2 (IANS) With more and more planes crowding the Indian skies, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has decided to expand cooperation with the Airports Authority of India (AAI) across the country to facilitate more flexible use of airspace.The IAF and AAI have already established a Joint Regional Air Traffic Coordination Centre (JRATCC) at Chennai airport. The IAF intends to replicate this in other zones of the country.

“This (JRATCC) is the nodal agency for coordination between civil and IAF ATC (air traffic control) units within Chennai, which facilities the use of each other’s airspace when not in use by the designated agency,” Air Chief Marshal Fali H. Major, the IAF chief, told IANS.

“We are thinking of replicating it in other zones,” Major added.

He clarified that the “restricted and danger areas” under IAF control, which existed from its inception were still very much with the IAF.

“Exclusive airspace is required by the IAF for training and operational preparedness. However, keeping in mind the exponential growth of civil aviation, some of these airspaces are being made available for use by civil aviation whenever not in use by our aircraft under the concept of flexible use of airspace,” Major said.

The IAF chief revealed that 29-30 airfields are already being shared with the AAI. “This concept will be enlarged gradually to other airspaces also, as per the requirements of civil aviation,” Major said.

In March this year, the Ajay Prasad Committee set up to formulate a master plan for next generation futuristic air navigation services recommended that flexible use of airspace be accepted to optimise both military and civil aviation needs.

The defence ministry and the IAF have accepted this.

The committee suggested that as a first step, airspace above 29,000 feet may be released for civilian air traffic. The defence requirements would have a priority in not only increasing their height requirements but also expanding restricted airspace, whenever required, a civil aviation ministry statement has said.

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