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Section of ATC unhappy with work

Published : Jul 3, 2016, 11:54 pm IST
Updated : Jul 3, 2016, 11:54 pm IST

The ATC is part of the state-run Airports Authority of India.

The ATC is part of the state-run Airports Authority of India. While a section of ATCs are unhappy over the increasing workload and stress they face, senior AAI officials said several measures, including recruitment of more ATCs, are being adopted to ensure air safety is not jeopardised. In what raises serious questions on air safety in Indian skies, the government told Parliament a few weeks ago that as many as 35 incidents of “near-miss” or “air proxy” incidents — in which the minimum stipulated vertical or horizontal separation between two aircraft was breached in the skies — took place between January 2015 and March 31, 2016. The incidents took place due to errors by both pilots and ATCs. The need to improve coordination between pilots and ATCs is thus being taken seriously, with Air Traffic Controllers’ Guild (India) president D.K. Behera on Saturday organising a controllers-pilots’ interaction here attended by top AAI officials, including chairman S. Raheja and member (HR) Anuj Agrawal, where the roadmap to recruit 800 ATCs was mentioned.

Incidents of “near-miss” or “air proxy” have occurred in the recent past over various factors such as the pilots wrongly “reading back” the ATC’s instructions and climbing to a higher altitude than directed, or the ATC using visual assessment to gauge the lateral separation between aircraft instead of ATC tools, or else similar call signs of two aircraft that induced errors in the directions given by the ATC.

A few years ago, the government informed Parliament that “human error by air traffic controllers, handling of ATC functions by trainee controllers amid faulty supervision by their instructors, heavy air traffic leading to stress and fatigue, as well as radar failure” were some of the reasons for “air proxy” incidents.

Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi