HC gets assurance on regular ATR flight to metros
The state government and the Airports Authority of India (AAI) have assured the High Court of Meghalaya that necessary steps will be taken for installation, testing and calibration of Instrument Landing System (ILS) at Umroi airport and obtaining due certificate from Directorate General of Civil Aviation at the earliest.
While hearing the pending matter on Thursday, the Division Bench of the High Court said keeping in view the undertaking and assurance for making the airport fully functional and the deadline being September 2018, both the authorities, state as well as AAI without any fail will simultaneously take all necessary steps so as to make Umroi airport fully functional for landing and takeoff of ATR 72/Q400 to and from major metro and other cities of India “so that hardship and inconvenience to the people of Meghalaya after decades of sufferance is put to an end”.
Chief Secretary Y Tsering held a meeting with the AAI on Wednesday to discuss the urgent need to make the airport operational.
In view of the seriousness shown by the authorities by holding the meeting and taking appropriate decisions, the court hoped that ATR flights will operate directly from main metro cities, in particular from national capital Delhi, to Umroi airport and also from other cities without any hindrance from the end of September.
The court deferred the hearing on the matter for three weeks and the next hearing will be in August first week.
However, the court asked the chief secretary to file an affidavit about the progress achieved.
Earlier, the court was informed that the range of ATR Aircraft 72 would be 1952 miles and it is possible to connect Shillong airport with metros and regional major airports in as much as they are within this range.
It was also brought to the notice by technical experts that the commercial airlines have been buying ATR 72/600 aircraft in large numbers. Therefore, consensus has emerged that the existing airport with fully functional ILS will be suitable and it may lead to increased connectivity of Shillong to metro cities of India.
The technical expert, RK Singla, General Manager (Cartography) of Airport Authority of India was of the opinion that without removal of the Cluster-I (hills), the airport will not be suitable for landing of the Airbus 320. Even if norms laid down in civil aviation is relaxed, the cost will still be too high and it will not be economically feasible.
NV Atale, Officiating General Manager, Flight Procedure Design informed that with the installation and operationalisation of ILS, the requirement of visibility will be reduced from 5 km to almost about 3,200 m.
Atale further informed that with the operation of ILS, the regularity of the ATR landing at the Shillong airport will be enhanced. The expert also opined that removal of obstacles in Clusters II and III are necessary for the operation of ILS.
The state authorities headed by the chief secretary informed the court that the state will be committed to removing the obstacles in Clusters II and III which involve less cost which the state government can afford to spend and for obtaining environment clearance if required, the government will take immediate steps.
Source: The Shillong Times