M'lore flight ignored advice on navigation

In February this year, the Director-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) issued an ‘operations circular’ to all airlines, advising them to install GNSS equipment to ensure navigation accuracy.

“Use of GNSS, accessible worldwide, eliminates the possibility of position shift, which is a source of false warnings (or worse, the failure to provide a genuine warning)," the DGCA circular said.

However, Air India Express, which is a low cost airlines of Air India, doesn't have that facility, nor perhaps, any other airline in the country.

"The (GNSS) system is not commissioned" by Air India Express so far, a top ranking official of the airline told Deccan Herald here on Monday. “We don't have infrastructure for (installing) GNSS equipment... We are still using GPS which is continuously updated and used for landing,” the official, requesting anonymity, said.

This is in spite of the fact that the Boeing 737-800 series of aircraft (the type of which crashed at Mangalore) is GNSS compliant," the official said.

The official acknowledged that GNSS is a further improvement on GPS system, but he did not think installation of GNSS would have avoided Manglore crash. However, the DGCA circular speaks otherwise. “Some Operators have mandated the installation of GNSS as a component of the EGPWS/ TAWS system to ensure navigation accuracy.” “Operators should consider mandating the installation of GNSS,” the circular dated February 23, 2010, said.

The circular, ‘Safety Oversight  - TAWS/ EGPWS Equipment - role of position inputs from GNSS equipment’,  provides recommendations to operators on action that should be taken related to Operations Circular 3/ 2009 ‘Reduced Effectiveness of TAWS/ EGPWS Equipment’.

The February 2010 circular said that the proper functioning of EGPWS/ TAWS operation “can be undermined by the lack of suitable navigational input, where DME/DME update for area navigation systems is not available”. It is here that the GNSS comes into play.

All regulatory steps taken: AI
Mumbai, dhns: Air India on Monday claimed that the flight operations of its subsidiary Air India Express are in conformity with regulatory requirements. “We wish to reiterate that Air India Express meets all regulatory requirements,” the airliners said in a statement.

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