India is the latest country to sign on for integration of space-based ADS-B aircraft tracking in its air traffic management operations. The Airports Authority of India (AAI) and Aireon announced the deal today, bringing six million square kilometers (2.3mm square miles) of airspace into the service. The two parties expect the integration to occur before the end of the year.
The contract sees Aireon’s solution activated in the Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata’s oceanic airspaces. These regions are located in the Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal and Indian Ocean. The airspace includes key routes for intercontinental traffic routing planes from Southeast Asia to the Middle East and Europe. In addition to improved aircraft positional tracking the Aireon ADS-B system will significantly increase efficiency and improve transitions between oceanic and domestic airspace.
The decision to implement Aireon’s technology is not only a major step in improving safety and enhancing capacity for our flying public, but also ensures that as one of the globe’s fastest growing markets, we are planning for our continued growth. AAI will be the first Air Navigation Service Provider in the region to implement a technological initiative, on this scale, and offer enhanced air traffic surveillance services to its users. – Dr. Guruprasad Mohapatra, Chairman, AAI
The oceanic corridors affected are some of the busiest in the region. As air traffic continues to grow both within and above India demands on the crowded airspace are increasingly complex. Pradeep Kandoth, General Manager for Air Traffic Management at Chennai Airport, notes that longitudinal spacing for aircraft currently keeps them 10 minutes, or 80 nautical miles apart over the oceanic regions while lateral spacing is set at 50 nautical miles. With the ADS-B solution in place controllers will have precision data to track aircraft locations, allowing for a significant decrease in that spacing. Longitudinally it will drop as low as 14nm while lateral spacing can be reduced to 19nm. It is a”quantum leap in airspace capacity” according to Kandoth.
In addition to more accurate positional tracking the controllers will be able to open up more direct routes across the airspace. Rather than limiting planes to specific corridors the aircraft will have increased flexibility in their routing opportunities, delivering a more efficient flight path and reducing fuel burn.
The deal with AAI is a major win for Aireon and comes mere months after the service officially went live. India joins 26 other nations actively deploying Aireon’s space-based ADS-B for air traffic surveillance.