Spanish-made “Indra” to Upgrade Air Traffic Management System in Thiruvananthapuram International Airport

Indra, an air traffic control technology developed by the Spanish Information Technology & Defence Systems Company, installed at a cost of 3,19,000 euro at the Air Traffic Control (ATC) centre at Thiruvananthapuram International Airport is all set for commissioning. The airport here is the 5th in the country to get the advanced automation system after Ahmedabad, Nagpur, Mangalore & Varanasi airports. It has been set up by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) as part of a project to upgrade air traffic management systems with advanced automation systems. The Indra automation system, which is in use in 62 countries, will meet all requirements of air traffic safety.The new facility, classified as ‘Type C,’ has been set up in the old visitor’s gallery of the airport terminal on the Shanghumughom side, and it has been linked to the adjacent ATC tower. A modern Area Control Centre with six consoles has come up in the new facility. In addition, server rooms and rooms for the technical supervisor have been created on the floor that has become out of bounds for the people. Safety alerts to the controllers if the distance between aircraft reduces, ability of the system to communicate on its own, sharing of data with other airports, and flexibility of the database are the highlights of the new system.

Efficiency
Apart from increasing efficiency, reducing the chances of accidents, and improving passenger safety, the new system will ensure complete coverage of radars. Aircraft will be in continuous contact with the air traffic controllers while transiting to upper air space.The new air traffic management system will help aircraft reach an economic flight level, drastically reducing fuel consumption.Audio transmission to pilots will go digital and communication between the air traffic controllers and the pilots will be enhanced. The automation will help pilots know about air pockets and act accordingly. The new system will give the pilots more confidence as they will always be within radar coverage. It will also reduce their workload as the navigation of the aircraft will be done from a single centre.The working environment in the ATC will change drastically once the automation is commissioned.The Airport Surveillance Radar and the Monopulse Secondary Surveillance Radar (MSSR), which are 16 years old, will be replaced by the AAI in the coming months. The present system will be wound up once the automation system is commissioned, and the landmark ATC tower will be retained.

Integration of various radars will be an important feature of the advanced technology. The AAI will interlink area control radars in the southern region to eliminate radar blind spots and ensure improved air safety and efficient air traffic control. The MSSR at Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Thiruvananthapuram airports will be interlinked. The officials said four radars could be integrated at the same time, and this would provide more visibility to the aircraft. Under the ATC here, 200 nautical miles south of Kozhikode, Nedumbassery, Madurai, and Tiruchirapalli and higher flight levels of 18,000 ft are covered.

News Sourced from “The Hindu” & “Mathrubhumi Nagaram” dated 13.10.2011

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