Finally, ILS start at Srinagar airport gets DGCA nod
First Landing This Week; Airlines Jubilant
Srinagar, Jan 16: In a major development, the Director General Civil Aviation (DGCA) has finally given its approval for starting the already-calibrated Instrumentation Landing System at the Srinagar ‘International’ Airport, bringing respite to airlines.
“Yes, we have got the DGCA approval,” confirmed the Srinagar-based Director of the Airports Authority of India (AAI), Capt. Raj K Malik. “We are all set to use the vital equipment. Nothing is now going to stop us from putting the landing gear to use. It has finally come to the stage where we can safely say we have done it.”
The Instrumentation Landing System, 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 during winters.
Capt Malik, who has been pushing hard for the ILS start for the past several months, said the DGCA approval was a big achievement. “It is a new year gift to the people of Kashmir. The ILS start was a persistent demand from so many quarters in the Valley. It is certainly a big respite for airlines in general and the pilots in particular,” he told Greater Kashmir.
The AAI, Capt Malik said, is now waiting for the Indian Air Force to issue the notice to airmen, technically called as NOTAM. “We are expecting the NOTAM by Tuesday. And if all goes as planned, we shall have the first ILS landing on Wednesday or Thursday,” he said.
The NOTAM would specify the frequency on which the airlines can land at the Srinagar aerodrome with ILS in operation.
Top sources disclosed to Greater Kashmir that the IAF, which mans the runway operations at the airport, has already prepared the NOTAM and forwarded it to the IAF Headquarters in New Delhi for ratification. The office, they said, is likely to give its clearance by Tuesday, immediately after which the flights shall start landing at the airport with ILS on.
While the AAI is contemplating formal inauguration of the equipment, worth Rs two crores, the DGCA approval is a big respite for the pilots who would often complain of difficulty in landing at the aerodrome in absence of ILS.
“It is certainly big news and a great respite for us,” said station manager of a commercial airline, thanking Capt Malik for taking a lead in resolving the two years long tussle between the AAI and IAF over the landing gear. “We request the IAF to issue the NOTAM as soon as possible so that the equipment is put into use.”
According to AAI sources, the IAF has co-operated all along the endeavor to get the equipment started.
The equipment would ensure safe landing of the aircraft in low visibility conditions. “The flights can now land at 1000 to 1200 meters visibility against the current 2.3 kilometers,” the sources said.
The equipment was calibrated in December 2010 and installed by the AAI in 2009.
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 Saif ud Din Soz and also the National Conference president, Dr Farooq Abdullah.
Lastupdate on : Sun, 16 Jan 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 16 Jan 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 17 Jan 2011 00:00:00 IST
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