No more system failures! Airports to get remote and mirror image control of busy ATCs; what it means

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Published: December 11, 2018 2:20:18 PM

The primary purpose of ATC is to prevent collisions, organise and expedite the flow of air traffic, and provide information in support for pilots. The authority is looking to have 'mirror image' control of busy ATC towers as well.

ATCAAI is now in the process of preparing a common tender platform to seek entities that can provide remote Air Traffic Control (ATC) systems

The Airports Authority of India (AAI) now plans to have remote as well as mirror image air traffic control systems as it looks to save costs and put in place reliable back up options in case of any system failures. According to a PTI report, the national airports operator is now in the process of preparing a common tender platform to seek entities that can provide remote Air Traffic Control (ATC) systems. The ATC is a service provided by the ground-based air traffic controllers who direct the aircraft on the ground and through controlled airspace, and can provide advisory services to aircraft in non-controlled airspace. The primary purpose of ATC is to prevent collisions, organise and expedite the flow of air traffic, and provide information in support for pilots.

According to an AAI official quoted in the report the authority is also looking to have ‘mirror image’ control of a busy ATC tower in another tower. For example, if there is any failure of a system at a busy airport then operations there can be controlled from another location till things are restored. The idea of remote ATC is technically doable and is happening in a few smaller airports in Northern Europe. Since there are different aspects in the systems being offered by different players, AAI is now working on having a common tender platform.

AAI is trying to understand a little more about the technology and see how a biddable pattern can be evolved. It is being done internally and is an experimental area and will significantly cut down costs. With the mirror image control along with remote ATCs, not only would costs be saved but a back up would be available in case of any failures. The remote towers concentrate ATC at one central location instead of having resources at each single airport, which would help in having synergies and savings.

Presently, airports have manned towers to provide ATC services. With the availability of remote towers, there would be a video-based surveillance for such services. Recently, the AAI had acquired eight-trailer mounted towers at a cost of Rs 64.6 crore from a Slovak company for being used at small airports for regional connectivity scheme (RCS) flights.

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