ATC Automation in Mumbai Airport

Automated departure clearance facilityintroduced at

the Chhatrapati Shivaji Intl. Airport, Mumbai

Pre-departure clearanceto aircraft by Air Traffic Control in the country is all set for a majortechnology upgradation.

Airports Authority ofIndia (AAI) has begun trial operations of Data Link Communication forpre-departure clearance at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai,which will eventually replace the present system of voice based pre-departureclearances. The new system will eliminate possibility of human error and willenhance safety and efficiency of operations.

Pre-departure clearanceis an authorization issued by Air Traffic Control to the Pilot regarding therunway to be used, route to be flown from departure to destination and thecruising level that the aircraft is expected to maintain.

At present, Air Traffic Controllers, on request from the Pilot of an aircraft,issue pre-departure clearance through voice communication using VHF radio fromthe Air Traffic Control tower. The Pilots are expected to read back the entireclearance to confirm correct receipt of the same, again through voicecommunication.

Such a procedure for issueof pre-departure clearances using voice may lead to potential misunderstandingbetween the Pilot and the Controller, especially due to variations inpronunciations. In addition, it also results in loss of valuable time for thePilot waiting for his turn to get the clearance.

In the case of Data LinkCommunication, the Pilot requests the clearance using the Flight ManagementComputer in the cockpit. The Controller selects the appropriate clearance fromthe data base and at the press of a button the information goes to the cockpitof the aircraft via Data Link.

Data Link clearance,thus, saves time for the Pilot and eliminates human errors thereby enhancingsafety and operational efficiency.

In addition to Mumbai,such Data Link Departure Clearance (DLC) Systems will be deployed at Delhi,Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad International Airports.

Union Civil AviationMinister, Mr Ajit Singh, while launching the facility on his visit to Mumbai, appreciatedthis initiative which is the first of its kind by the Airports Authority ofIndia.