SRINAGAR AIRPORT IN NEW LANDING GEAR

ILS Becomes Operational From Today

FAHEEM ASLAM

Srinagar, Feb 1: The Airports Authority of India has finally informed the airlines operating from the Srinagar International Airport that they can use the Instrumentation Landing System (ILS) from Wednesday.
The development, according to sources, comes after the Indian Air Force, manning the runway operations at the aerodrome, cleared the procedure to be implemented for use of ILS, including the issuance NOTAM (Notice to Airmen).
The NOTAM specifies the frequency on which the airlines can land with the landing instrument on.
“The Air Force has cleared the procedure to be implemented at the Srinagar International Airport for the use of ILS,” confirmed the Srinagar-based director of the Airports Authority of India, Capt Raj K Malik. “All the details have been given to us. We will now issue a commercial NOTAM and tell the airlines to start using it from tomorrow (Wednesday).”
The Instrumentation Landing System 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, something very common in the Valley during winters.
“When the visibility will be poor, this system will facilitate the aircraft to land,” said Capt Malik. “The passenger safety and the safety of pilots have thus been enhanced.”
As per the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) guidelines, all the commercial airlines are required to follow the ILS.
According to airlines, the ILS start would minimize flight cancellations at the Srinagar airport during winters. “This time the pilots land at two and a half kilometers visibility. But with ILS on, they should be able to do it at 1000 meters,” said an airline official, hailing the AAI endeavour to start the landing gear, worth Rs two crores.
The AAI had earlier last week contemplated to put the vital landing equipment to use from this week after the Director General Civil Aviation (DGCA) gave a formal nod to its start. But the equipment was waiting for the kick-start as the IAF was still to issue the NOTAM.
“Now that ILS has been started, the AAI must raise the issue of night landing facility with the Indian Air Force,” said the airline official. “This would give considerable fillip to tourism sector in Kashmir. The State Government must also take up the matter with the Defence Ministry and the Ministry of Civil Aviation.”

BACKGROUND
The equipment was installed by the AAI in 2009 and calibrated in December 2010.
Its installation, however, ran into a controversy between the AAI and the IAF.
Citing proposed runway expansion, the IAF wanted shifting of the equipment from the point where it was installed. The AAI, however, disagreed on the grounds that it would prove to be a costly affair. The tussle ended some months back after over two years of discord, with Capt Malik entering into negotiation with the Air Force, which agreed to its commissioning, albeit with certain conditions.
Pertinently, this newspaper has been reporting about the issue constantly for the past two years.
Stakeholders, including the J&K Tourism Alliance and Travel Agents Association of Kashmir had also raised the issue with the Prime Minister’s panel on jobs in Jammu and Kashmir, led by Dr C Rangarajan.
The issue also saw intervention by political circles, including the Pradesh Congress Committee chief, Prof Saifuddin Soz and also the National Conference president, Dr Farooq Abdullah.

Lastupdate on : Tue, 1 Feb 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 1 Feb 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 2 Feb 2011 00:00:00 IST




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