The long-awaited demand for a new technical block for the air traffic control (ATC) department at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport will finally be fulfilled.
The Airports Authority of India (AAI) will spend Rs90 crore to construct a brand new technical block which will enhance the flight handling capacity and provide better control of flights. At present ATC Ahmedabad handles 100 flight movements a day which includes 50 arrival and 50 departures.
Once the new technical block comes up, this capacity will be doubled. Confirming the news, AAI chairman VP Agrawal told DNA that the authority plans to invest in constructing a new technical block for the ATC as the existing block cannot handle the flight movements without any hindrance.
For this purpose Rs90 crore will be spent, he said. The ATC block's capacity was never extended since the inception of the airport, even though the number of flights at the airport has grown manifold. At present, it even lacks enough space to properly seat its staff.
The ATC has 51 employees who work in shifts against the approved strength of 70 employees. "The existing building has become inadequate for us. If all the staff was to come to the office together there is not enough space to seat them," said an official.
"The traffic control needs a facelift. Even Baroda airport has bigger and better traffic control," said the official. According to sources at the airport, the new block will have modern technologies and a new air traffic control tower, which will be much bigger than the existing one.
"Actually the investment is part of the efforts to modernise the airport. The construction work is likely to start by next year and it may take at least two years to finish it," said a source at the airport. But sources said that there will not be any major changes as far as enhancing operational efficiency is concerned. "The focus of the project will be on constructing a new modern building for the department," said the source.
When asked if something will be done to curb the menace of birds, an official said they are expecting installation of Surface Movement Radar or SMR. He said that with this equipment they will get to see a clear picture of objects moving around the operational area of the airport.