Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport, Delhi (File Photo)
The Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport in Delhi is all set to make it to the list of most technologically advanced airports all over the world. After months of trials, Union minister of state for civil aviation Hardeep Singh Puri will finally inaugurate the 103 metre-tall new air traffic control (ATC) tower at Delhi IGI Airport on Monday. The new tower is expected to help enhance the safety, efficiency and productivity of air transport management in the national capital.
Standing at a staggering 334.6 feet approximately, the Rs 350 crore project will allow air traffic controllers to have better visibility of all the runways, apron area and taxiways. Besides, the new facility has additional control positions, better equipment and state-of-the-art control room set-up, which will reduce the number of flights being handled by a single controller, thus increasing overall efficiency.
Furthermore, the new set-up has divided the air space into multiple sectors while 'Area Control Centre' has been divided into five sectors, restricting the number of flights handled at any given time from a particular control position. The new installation also allows simultaneous landing from the same direction on parallel runways which increases the capacity of the airport.
The tower also boasts of several advanced features such as quake-resistant technology and "tuned mass dampers", which have been put one level below the top to ensure the tower doesn’t sway in strong winds. The new ATC tower, which is said to be the tallest in India, stands at the ninth position worldwide in terms of height.
For the last few months, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) was running a parallel operation to test the automation and other systems in the new facility. The development came after the authority was mandated to handle the air traffic management services at the IGI Airport, one of the busiest across India.
At least 1,200 landings and take-offs take place along with overflying traffic of 250 planes every day at Delhi Airport. Delhi Air Traffic Control handles more than one flight operation every minute throughout the day. It takes control of over 40,000 movements at the IGI Airport in a month.
At present, the IGI Airport has three runways, of which, only two can be used for the landing. However, a fourth runway has been in pipeline in a bid to control the increasing traffic demand with each passing day.