New surveillance technology aims to minimize the distance between aircraft in midair, effective from January 1.

Air Traffic Control in India Set to Become Smarter with New Surveillance Technology

The Airports Authority of India (AAI) is set to introduce advanced surveillance technology from January 1, 2024, which will revolutionize air traffic control in the country, according to The Economic Times (ET). This new technology will allow flight operators to reduce the lateral separation between aircraft by half, resulting in more efficient use of airspace.

Currently, aircraft are required to maintain a lateral separation of 10 nautical miles (18.5 km). However, the new rules will enable operators to reduce this distance to just five nautical miles. AAI, the regulatory body overseeing airspace in India, has invested significantly in modernizing navigation radars and technology, as reported by ET.

The benefits of reducing the lateral separation between aircraft extend beyond airspace efficiency. This change will also enable flight operators to take more direct routes, resulting in fuel savings.

This development is of great significance considering the surging demand for air travel in the Indian aviation sector. Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia highlighted that the number of aircraft has increased by 75 percent since the financial year 2013-14 (FY14), with expectations for it to double in the next five years.

A senior AAI official revealed that the Noida and Navi Mumbai airports will become operational soon, transforming New Delhi and Mumbai into two-airport cities by next year. Given this expansion, increasing airspace capacity has become a necessity.

The reduction in lateral separation is made possible by the introduction of modern transponders, specifically automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B), which were mandated by the government in 2018 for the majority of routes. These transponders continuously transmit essential information about the aircraft, such as identification, location, altitude, and velocity, enhancing surveillance capabilities.

According to an AAI official, the upgrade of radars to Mode-S technology and the widespread use of ADS-B have significantly improved surveillance coverage. Additionally, automation systems in all area control centers can integrate surveillance feeds from multiple sources, further enhancing capabilities. Following rigorous safety assessments, the reduction in lateral separation has become feasible.

IndiGo, a major airline in India, welcomed the new surveillance system, emphasizing that it will enable them to optimize fuel-efficient routings.

With these advancements, India’s air traffic control is poised to enter a new era of efficiency and safety.,

From January 1, new surveillance technology will be implemented to enhance air safety by reducing the midair gap between aircraft. This cutting-edge technology utilizes advanced radar systems and automated communication protocols to enable closer spacing between airplanes during flight. By minimizing the separation distance, airlines can increase the efficiency and capacity of their operations, resulting in reduced delays and enhanced overall air travel experience. This state-of-the-art surveillance tech marks a significant step forward in air traffic management, ensuring safer and more streamlined journeys for passengers worldwide.


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