ILS readies for take off at Srinagar airport
AAI Begins Calibrating Latest Landing Facility
Srinagar, Dec 21: In a significant development, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) Tuesday started the calibration of the much-needed Instrumentation Landing System (ILS) at the Srinagar International Airport to facilitate landing of aircraft in low-visibility conditions.
The calibration process, according to AAI officials, started on Tuesday morning. “We have started the calibration of the new landing equipment and are moving in the positive direction. The calibration process should hopefully end on Wednesday,” said the Srinagar-based AAI director, Capt Raj K Malik.
He said a major portion of the calibration was completed today. “We are now making the required adjustments of technical nature,” Capt Malik told Greater Kashmir, adding a notice with regard to ILS calibration shall be issued to all airlines soon. “The airlines shall then get a frequency for landing of their aircraft. The entire picture about the formal ILS take off should be clear in a day or two.”
The ILS, according to experts, is a ground-based instrumentation system that provides precision guidance to an aircraft approaching the runway to enable its safe landing during reduced visibility conditions, common in Kashmir valley during winters.
Sources said an expert team led by Capt Johar from the Airports Authority of India initiated the calibration process this morning, understood to be a highly technical task.
The calibration of the latest landing equipment, worth Rs 2 crores, has taken off after a gap of nearly two years. This is much to the respite of the airlines whose pilots would often complain of difficulty in landing in extreme weather conditions in Srinagar, particularly during winters.
“It has been a persistent demand of the airlines that the ILS should be put into operation as soon as possible. Our pilots would often face difficulty in landing in Srinagar in low visibility conditions, leading to delay in their landing or sometimes the flight cancellation. It is good that the calibration process has finally begun,” said station manager of a commercial airline, insisting not to be named. “It would be a welcome step if the equipment is put to use as soon as possible. We can then have least or no flight cancellations which mean better service for the flyers.”
The modern landing gear had brought the AAI and the Indian Air Force at loggerheads with each other, with former opposing the ILS commissioning at the site where the latter had installed it in early 2009.
The tussle, however, ended this year after Capt Malik, took charge as the AAI director of the Srinagar aerodrome and entered into negotiations with the IAF.
Sources said the Indian Air Force, manning the runway of the aerodrome, cooperated with the AAI in the endeavour, albeit after negotiation on certain ‘contentious matters’ pertaining to the issue. “Everything happened in a cordial atmosphere. The IAF co-operated and we are hopeful to start the equipment soon,” said an airport official.
Sources said the start of the landing instrument could make night landing possible at the Srinagar airport. “But before that, proper runway lighting has to be done. That could be a next step after the ILS is put into use,” they said. “The absence of ILS on the aerodrome has been one of the factors that hampered the foreign airlines to agree to land at the Srinagar International Airport. With ILS in use, we should be able to woo foreign airlines, which in turn would give boost to tourism sector in Kashmir.”
Lastupdate on : Tue, 21 Dec 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 21 Dec 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 22 Dec 2010 00:00:00 IST
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