Duty time limits for Air Traffic Control officers planned

Last Updated: Wed, Dec 21, 2011 19:43 hrs
Paul Babeu

New Delhi: To ensure a work force free of stress and fatigue, the government Wednesday said it is considering placing a limit on the duty time for air traffic control officers (ATCOs).

'Duty time limitations (DTL) for air traffic controllers are being considered for better stress, fatigue management,' newly-sworn Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh informed the Lok Sabha.

The average duty hours for the ATCOs range between six to eight hours. An ATCO can not leave his or her station until the next scheduled officer reports for duty.

According to Singh, other steps like ATCO and pilot proficiency checks and system upgradation are being carried.

'To cater to increasing future requirements, training and recruitment of ATCOs are being carried out by the Airports Authority of India,' Singh said.

The minister also revealed that there were 26 instances in 2011, when two aircraft were reported to be operating in close proximity.

'There have been instances of aircraft getting close to each other, resulting in airprox incidents,' Singh said.

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) describes an airprox as a situation in which, in the opinion of a pilot or air traffic services personnel, the distance between aircraft as well as their relative positions and speed have been such that the safety of the aircraft involved may have been compromised.

At least 26 instances of airprox were reported till November this year, compared to 22 in 2010 and 15 instances in 2009.

Meanwhile, in a reply to another question the minister revealed that on Nov 17, 2011 one radar equipment at the national capital's IGI airport tripped due to increase in temperature.

'The defect was rectified and the system was restored for operations after 50 minutes. There was no adverse impact on operations as the other equipment and the automation systems were available throughout,' the minister said.

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