Mumbai : India's tallest Air Traffic Control (ATC) tower - standing at 84 metres or nearly as high as a 30-storey building - was inaugurated outside the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport here Friday.
By virtue of its location and height, the ATC tower, jointly inaugurated by Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh and Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, will enable the controllers have an uninterrupted view of the entire operational area and help optimize air traffic separation and enhance traffic handling capacity.
Spread over a 2,800 square metre area, it is equipped with the latest technology, including electronic flight strips which will lessen the workload of the controllers, increase safety and overall capacity at the airport.
Speaking on the occasion, Singh said that India is the ninth largest aviation market in the world with the traffic growing at 10 percent per annum, propelled by policy initiatives and modernization of both airports and air navigation systems (ANS) infrastructure.
"Aviation is the branch of engineering that is least forgiving of mistakes. Air traffic controllers are as important as the pilots sitting the cockpit. If the pilot makes an error, the pilot suffers; if the ATC makes a mistake, still the pilot suffers," he said.
In order to eliminate errors on the ATC front, the ANS is focusing on upgradation strategy to enhance safety, efficiency and capacity of airspace in the country, he said.
These include transition from voice to data link which will instantly transmit ATC clearances to the cockpit, eliminating crucial voice-related errors and transition from ground-based navigation to satellite-based navigation, Singh added.
Slated to complement the upcoming New Integrated Terminal, the new ATC tower will be able to handle current and future air traffic movements and increase air traffic movements per hour, said Mumbai International Airport Pvt Ltd's executive chairman G.V.K. Reddy.
The ATC was designed by Hong Kong-based architectural firm HOK and international engineering designer ARUP - selected after a global competition and Spiers & Majors have designed its lighting to bring out the sculptural qualities.