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AAI Integrates Upper Air Space Over North East Region with Kolkata Air Traffic Management Facility

Pakyong Airport. (Image source: Twitter/AAI)

Pakyong Airport. (Image source: Twitter/AAI)

Upper airspace is the space above a specific flight level (26,000 ft and above) dedicated to overflight, while lower airspace is the space below that flight level, dedicated to airport approaches.

The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has successfully integrated the upper air space over the northeastern region with Kolkata CNS/ATM facility as part of its ongoing initiative towards establishing a single continuum of upper airspace, according to a statement. Upper airspaceis the space above a specific flight level (26,000 ft and above) dedicated to overflight, while lowerairspaceis the space below that flight level, dedicated to airport approaches.

The integration of the NE Region upper space with the Kolkata Communications, Navigation, Surveillance and Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) facility, was achieved on March 25, the AAI said in the statement. This is a huge step towards enhancement of capacity, efficiency and to ensure the highest level of safety in the air space over India and associated oceanic airspace, the AAI said.

Till now, it was being controlled from Guwahati control centre, it said. AAI had in 2014 planned for Upper Airspace Harmonisation (UAH) in the four Flight Information Regions (FIRs) of Chennai, Kolkata, Delhi and Mumbai, for establishing a single continuum of upper airspace as part of the safety and air navigation services improvement project.

“This (the integration) is a huge milestone for the Airports Authority of India as well as the Indian civil aviation sector. The single continuum in the Sky is a gift from AAI to ‘Azadi ka Amrut Mahotsav’,” said AAI Chairman Anuj Aggarwal. The move will facilitate the provision of seamless ATM services resulting in the reduction of the cockpit work load besides helping in reduction of operational cost (fuel) and thereby less carbon emission through assignment of economic flight level and direct routing, the AAI said.

UAH is a process by which aircraft flying in airspace above a height are controlled from a central location with multiple airspace sectors. the entire upper airspace is harmonised with application of uniform air traffic management procedures and standards to achieve enhanced levels of safety and efficiency.

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This is part of the Indian Air Traffic Management Strategic Plan of seamless air traffic services in Indian FIR in line with the Global Air Navigation Plan and the Regional Air Navigation Plan of ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization). “This harmonisation will benefit the airlines, environment and economy at large by curtailing flight time and fuel consumption resulting in reduced carbon footprint,” said AAI Regional Executive Director (Eastern Region) Manoj Gangal.