New Delhi: With congestion growing in India's airspace, the Indian Air Force (IAF) and Airports Authority of India (AAI) have decided to lend a helping hand to each other across the country for facilitating more flexible usage of airspace.
The defence and civil aviation bodies have set up the Joint Regional Air Traffic Coordination Centre (JRATCC) at Chennai airport, and the Indian Air Force now plans to replicate this to other parts of the country.
In a statement to a news agency, Air Chief Marshal Fali H Major said that the JRATCC is the nodal agency for coordination between civil and IAF air traffic control (ATC) units within Chennai. The agency facilitates the use of civilian and military airspace when not in use by the designated agency. However, 'restricted' and 'danger areas' that were earlier under IAF control will continue to be managed by the IAF.
Air Chief Marshal Major said that exclusive airspace is needed by the IAF for training and operational preparedness, but given the exponential growth of civil aviation in India, some of this airspace is being made available for use by civil aviation when IAF aircraft are not using it. This is done under the concept of flexible use of airspace. Additionally, he said that around 30 airfields were being shared with the AAI.
Earlier in the year, the Ajay Prasad Committee had recommended flexible use of airspace as a measure to optimise both military and civil aviation needs. The committee had been established to come up with a master plan for the next generation of futuristic air navigation services, and both the defence ministry and the IAF had accepted the committee's recommendation pertaining to flexible use of airspace.