The fourth runway of the Indira Gandhi International airport within the next year, making it the only airport in India to have four runways.The instrument landing system installation and other projects like painting the runway markings will be completed by this December, said Sanjeev Kumar, chairman of the Airports Authority of India (AAI), in a conversation with TOI.
UK-based air traffic management firm NATS recently conducted a capacity study for Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL). The study concluded that its four runways can handle 14 crore passengers in a year, which is more than double of the 6.9 crore international-cum-domestic (both arrival and departure) numbers in the last pre-pandemic year of 2019. However,air traffic management will be needed to reach the 14-crore figure.
As several airports are getting privatised, the state-owned AAI handles air navigation services at all airports and manages traffic in the Indian airspace. With an increase in air traffic and new airports across the country, there is a shortage of air traffic controllers (ATCOs).
“Given the kind of traffic IGIA — India’s busiest airport — handles, we need experienced ATCOs. We are seeing many of them getting transferred to other places from Delhi and that could have its impact on operations here,” said senior ATCOs to TOI. Kumar added there were plans to have more ATCOs and upgrade the air traffic control (ATC) systems across the nation.
A 10-year plan to increase ATC capacity by replacing old equipment and upgrading them across India has been drawn, said Kumar. AAI spends Rs 600-700 crore annually on air navigation systems, which will be increased to Rs 1,000 crore.
Kumar said AAI had issued an ad to recruit 400 ATCOs this year, and 300 who joined last year would be in the system in 2022 after completing the training. An additional 320 will be hired in 2023.
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