Govt plans Rs 70 cr project to overhaul airport infra

Govt plans Rs 70 cr project to overhaul airport infra

PTI file photo for representation

With the domestic civil aviation traffic on a steady rise, the Centre plans a Rs 70 crore package to overhaul the meteorological services infrastructure at 18 major airports to save the passengers from unnecessary hassles, last-minute cancellation and diversion due to adverse weather.

The airports chosen for the upgrade are those which cater to more than 500 flights every week. Each of the four metros, as well as Bengaluru and Hyderabad, are part of the airports that would witness upgrading of the meteorological instruments.

Government sources told DH that tenders for the new instruments were expected to be issued within a month or two and the entire project would be wrapped up by 2024.

The new instruments would be chosen based on the recommendations of an expert panel, headed by Ajit Tyagi, former director-general of India Meteorological Department.

Set up in February 2019, the Tyagi panel has recently submitted its recommendations to the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences.

“Major airports are to be equipped with advanced observing systems (microwave radiometer, Doppler Lidar and wind profiler) to detect and nowcast aviation hazards,” the panel said. “Airports having high density of aircraft movements should have Aviation Weather Decision Support System (AWDSS) for providing real-time inputs for air traffic management.”

While some of the instruments are to be purchased from the open market, sources said IMD was in talks with Delhi-based Laser Science and Technology Centre, a DRDO institute, to develop indigenous the Lidar (light detection and ranging) equipment for the project. The defence institute has made such an instrument for another Pune-based DRDO unit.

“To meet the demands of growing aviation sectors, International Civil Aviation Organisation and Directorate General of Civil Aviation have come out with mandatory requirements and guidelines that are to be met by aviation meteorological service providers. Being a paid service it is essential for IMD to meet present and emerging demands of aviation sector and provide quality services of international standards,” said the Tyagi panel.

The committee also suggested replacing the “old and outlived four automatic message switching systems at Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata” on war footing by 2020 to meet the modern aviation meteorological telecommunication requirements.

Passengers carried by domestic airlines during January-November this year were 1311.54 lakh as against 1262.83 lakh during the corresponding period of previous year, registering annual growth of 3.86% and monthly growth of 11.18%, according to the DGCA. There are 83 licensed aerodromes.

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