The Airports Authority of India (AAI) and the defence ministry have for the first time carried out test flights for Flexible Use of Airspace (FUA), it would result in significant savings for airlines and cut down travel time sharply. Once FUA is instituonalised, commercial flights can fly over restricted zones with prior approval from defence authorities.
About 40% of Indian airspace comes under defence authorities, and is restricted for civil aircraft movement. As a result, most of the navigational routes are not straight, and commercial flights have to circumvent the restricted areas thereby losing fuel and time, while adding to carbon emission, reports Hindustan Times.
On the Delhi-Goa sector, which sees around 15 flight movements a day, airlines take an average 23 minutes of additional travel time while flying from Mumbai coastline to Goa.
AAI and defence authorities have devised an FUA manual. Once implemented, it would result in significant savings even on international flights.