6,191 pilots currently qualified for CAT II & CAT III operations: Official

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New Delhi, Jan 20 (IANS) A day after a spat between the Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia and Congress MP Shashi Tharoor over the arrangement at Delhi airport amid delays and traffic congestion, the ministry has issued a comprehensive statement addressing key issues.

The ministry further claimed that in 2014, there were 2,358 qualified pilots for CAT II/III operations, and concerted efforts by the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) and DGCA have led to a substantial increase.

As of December 31, 2023, the number of qualified pilots for CAT II/III operations has risen to 6,191, marking a significant 165 per cent growth since 2014.

The ministry said that Delhi’s IGI Airport is the busiest airport in the country having four operational runways.

“Of these four runways, runway 10/28 is under re-carpeting and up gradation of Aeronautical Ground Lightings (AGL) and three runways are available for operations,” said the official.

The official said that last week, the downgrade of runway 29L to CAT I from CAT III was prompted by nearby construction activities affecting radio communication.

“The Airports Authority of India (AAI) and Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) are actively working with the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to resolve this issue,” said the official.

The re-carpeting of runway 10/28, initiated after the G-20 Summit, is nearing completion, and the process is being closely monitored by the DGCA.

“Runway life expectancy is typically 10-12 years under operational and environmental conditions and last re-carpeting of runway 10/28 was done in 2010,” said the official.

The ministry official said that airlines have also been advised that they may cancel, sufficiently in advance, such flights that are anticipated to be delayed or consequentially delayed on account of such conditions beyond a period of three hours with a view to obviate congestion at the airport and mitigate passenger inconvenience.

“Airlines have been directed to ensure that in case of flight diversion and long delays, the Aircraft should be parked on contact stand, so that passengers can be shifted to terminal building for disembarkation/ de-boarding, if required. Under no circumstances, the aircraft should be parked on remote bay and passengers be allowed to disembark at the apron. MoCA and DGCA are monitoring the adherence to the SOP every day twice to ensure that laid down instructions and DGCA CAR provisions are not violated,” said the official.

“All airlines have been directed to activate an Emergency Control Room (war room) at all six metro airports manned by top managers who are authorised to take prompt decisions on all aspects including any passenger complaint. The situations/complaints handled in these Emergency Control Rooms are being monitored by the Ministry on a daily basis,” said the official.



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