Civil Aviation

In a first, India air force, airport authority radar controllers to jointly work from Kempegowda airport

Photo: Indian Air Force and Airport Authority of India radar controllers co-located at the Kempegowda airport in Bengaluru.

Bengaluru: In a first, Indian Air Force‘s (IAF’s) radar controllers have shifted go sit with their Airport Authority of India (AAI) counterparts at the Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru (KIAB), a major initiative to co-locate and facilitate ease of doing their business.

The initiative has been taken by the IAF so that military and civilian radar controllers are located at the same work space for providing radar control services within their respective air spaces.

“The co-location will facilitate dynamic coordination between the controllers (from the military and civilian institutions), which will not only enhance safety of operations, but also ensure exploitation of the second runway at KIAB to its full potential,” a statement from the Ministry of Defence spokesperson here said.

The IAF conducts ab-initio flying training for its fledgling aviators on transport aircraft and helicopters at Yelahanka air base adjacent to KIAB. The close proximity between Yelahanka and the new runway at KIAB requires aircraft from both airfield to fly accurately to ensure that specified minimum radar separation between two aircraft is not infringed.

A Joint Working Group (JWG) was constituted by the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA), along comprising members of the IAF, AAI, and Bengaluru International Airport Limited (BIAL), to formulate procedures for safe conduct of operations without compromising on civilian and military operational requirement at both the airports.

The JWG had several meetings in the last few years to gradually evolve safe operational procedures, ably supported at the apex level by IAF headquarters and all the stakeholders, the statement said.

The KIAB is among the fastest growing airports in the world and it is estimated that 65 million passengers will use the airport in a year as a transit point by 2024-25. Key to handling the forecast growth of civil aviation is the second runway made operational recently at KIAB with the active support of the IAF.

“The IAF has been in the forefront in all discussions with a positive approach to sharing of airspace, co-location of radar controllers and formulation of safe procedures. IAF had also transferred a large portion of its airspace to KIAB earlier to facilitate operationalisation of the first runway at the international airport.”

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