Night landing under cloud in Silchar Airport

SILCHAR, Aug 25: Though Sontosh Mohan Dev, former Union Minister of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, had assured that Silchar Airport would be ready for night landing by January 2009, nothing till date has materialized. It has now been learned from airport sources that unless technical clearance is given by the Director General of Civil Aviation, it will not be feasible.
In fact, Sylvian Kondapan, MP in the last session of Parliament, wanted to know from Union Minister of Civil Aviation Prafull Patel about the preparedness of Silchar and Dibrugarh airports for night landing of aircrafts. Patel replied that necessary infrastructure and arrangements were made to operate flights after dusk. Lalit Mohan Shuklabaidya, Karimganj MP, quoting Kondapan, said here that the ground reality is different. Perhaps, as he said the Minister has not been properly briefed by his department on the developments at Silchar and Dibrugarh airports.
On August 17, 253 Airbus flights from Kolkata could not land at Silchar due to poor visibility and inclement weather in the afternoon. The aircrafts, after hovering over the airport for half an hour had to return back to Kolkata. When Shuklabaidya contacted the Air Traffic Control here, he was told that the Director General of Civil Aviation has not yet given clearance for night landing at Silchar. Dibrugarh airport is yet to have the necessary infrastructure.
Silchar airport, according to Airport Authority of India, is equipped with the vital instrument landing system (ILS). The MP said he pursued the matter with the Director General who informed him that he would examine all relevant angles and thereafter take a final decision regarding the airport here. In the meantime, Airport Authority of India according to its modernization plan has extended the runway from 5,857 to 7,500 feet in order to accommodate airbuses. The terminal building has also been expanded and modified and installed with suitable user friendly services that can seat 300 passengers at a time.
A set of the state-of-the-art navigational and visual aids has been provided for smooth operation of ATR, Boeing and Airbus aircrafts in all weather conditions.
Though ILS has been installed for precise landing, considering the location of the Airport against the backdrop of Borail Hill ranges and prolonged monsoon, Doppler Very High Frequency Omni Range coupled with distance measuring equipment and precision approach path indicator are the other essential landing and navigational aids required for easy and safe landing even in bad weather.
At present Silchar is linked with Kolkata, Guwahati and Imphal. On an average, annually 82,000 passengers embark and disembark while 600 metre of cargo are handled here. Silchar is ranked fourth after Guwahati, Agartala and Imphal. (Source - Sentinel Assam)

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