India’s first remote Air Traffic Control Tower may open in a year

DELHI: India is likely to get its first remote air traffic control tower by December 2018 at Ahmedabad airport, allowing one tower to manage aircraft movements for several nearby airstrips, Guruprasad Mohapatra, Chairman, Airports Authority of India (AAI) said today.

Remote and Virtual Tower (RVT) is a new concept where air traffic service at an airport is performed somewhere else, thereby, dispensing with the need for a tower on its premises, reports PTI.

The concept will be useful for smaller airports under the government’s regional connectivity scheme (RCS), which aims to utilise underserved and unserved airports and improve connectivity to tier-2 and tier-3 cities, Mr Mohapatra said.

“Under RCS, we will have a plethora of airports with just one or two flights per day. So, rather than setting up Air Traffic Control towers and deploying ATC personnel (at each of these airports) we hope to cover them with remote tower concept,” Mr Mohapatra told reporters.

The RVT facility at Ahmedabad will be a pilot project. He explained that this model will be successful in states with multiple small airports located not far from the main tower.

“The logic is that states must have numerous small airports. Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat have between six to 12 airports located at a distance of 200 km to 250 km,” the AAI chairman said.

The AAI has already issued an expression of interest (EOI) following which it will prepare a proof of concept and then start the bidding procedure for an RVT at Ahmedabad.

“The RVT will help because you have only one tower and excellent electronic data communication facility between participating airports and the main tower. If personnel are in an Air Traffic Control (ATC) tower in Ahmedabad he can very clearly see bays in Surat, Bhavnagar, Ankleshwar” Mr Mohapatra added.

Another pilot project for mobile ATC tower is likely to be introduced by February 2018. This will include an ATC unit mounted on a truck which can move between different airports as per requirement.


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