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AAI starts work to equip Rourkela airport with ACU to improve flight regularity

The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has begun work to equip the Rourkela airport with an Approach Control Unit (ACU) which would, with immediate effect, help improve the regularity of flights. It would also pave the way for approval of special VFR (Visual Flight Rules) flight operations in the near future.

The action came after the Principal Secretary to Odisha Commerce & Transport Department Usha Padhee on December 15 wrote to AAI’s Regional Executive Director (RED), Kolkata for the establishment of ACU at Rourkela citing that Rourkela is going to co-host the FIH Pro-League (Men and Women) 2023-24 involving seven countries from February 3 to 25, 2024.

Appreciating the AAI for establishing ACUs at Jeypore and Utkela she wrote that regularity of scheduled/non-scheduled flight operations is essential to ferry players and visitors for the success of the important event. In response to the letter, the AAI on December 22 issued instructions to conduct concept/design and execution-level safety assessment for the establishment of ACU at Rourkela.

Since the existing Air Traffic Control Offices (ATCOs) at Rourkela Airport lack previous experience and endorsement for ADC (Air Data Computer) approach they would be sent on training to Bhubaneswar. For the time being, four ATCOs with ADC approach ratings have been drawn from different airports to exercise the ADC Approach at Rourkela from January 31 next year.

Despite the need and demand from different quarters, the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) continues to keep mum on equipping the Rourkela airport of SAIL with an Instrument Landing System (ILS) for all weather operations and night landing facilities.

With the MoCA allegedly backtracking on promises for further development and expansion of the Rourkela airport to convert Code 2C licence to Code 3C to allow operation of the bigger aircraft, the Odisha Commerce and Transport department on November 15, 2023 selected RITES Limited to prepare Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) for expansion and development of the Rourkela, Jeypore and Amarda Road airports into Code 3C licence category. (Source: New Indian Express)


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