Air travel turn faster as new systems take wings

Written by Shaheen Mansuri | Mumbai, Sep 11 | Updated: Sep 12 2008, 05:33am hrs
With the Airports Authority of India (AAI) installed systems like Standard Instrument Departure (SID) and Star Terminal Arrival Routes (STAR) for the first time in India from August 28 at the Mumbai airport, air travel within the country is likely to become faster. The systems having introduced, pilots will be able to take shorter routes for departure and arrival in case there is congestion in the designated route. The new installation will help airlines save on fuel, say analysts.

MG Jhunghare, head of air traffic control (western region) told FE,All international airports have already installed the SID and STAR system, however, it is being introduced for the first time in India. The AAI has asked for a feedback from the airline operators within a month, he added.

JS Dhillon, vice-president (operations) SpiceJet said, A two-hour journey between two metro cities can stretch indefinitely as the aircraft awaits ATC clearance for landing. With SITA and SID installation at the Mumbai airport, the pilot need not detour and can raise speed limits up to 10,000 feet to enable planes to reach their fuel-efficient cruising altitude sooner.

A pilot from a private carrier says that a narrow body aircraft wastes fuel worth $4,000 for every hour it hovers around the sky whereas a wide body aircraft wastes fuel worth $7,000. The new SID and STAR system will help save fuel. However, airline will not get the results that soon, he said.

An analyst from a Mumbai-based brokerage firm said currently all major airports in the country are facing acute problems on account of inadequate infrastructure, leading to air traffic congestion. This, in turn, leads to airlines burning fuel and adding to the operating costs. SID and STAR will help airlines save ATF worth Rs 25,000 or ATF per 50 nautical miles less travelled, he said.

The industry wants to reduce the time planes spend taxiing on the ground, which, apart from saving fuel, would reduce the inconvenience faced by passengers. Initiatives like this will help airlines and their service providers to achieve real fuel saving, said the analyst.