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Kolkata airport to get Indian Reference Station

Kolkata, India: The new terminal at Kolkata airport, India, will get an Indian Reference Station (INRES) to collect measurement data and broadcast messages from all GPS and GEO satellites to the Indian Master Control Centre (INMCC) in Bangalore, Times of India reported. Moreover, flights are expected to get cheaper.

The new terminal will be one of the fifteen locations in the country where an Indian Reference Station (INRES) has been set up. The new terminal will be operational by October 2012.

“Once Gagan (GPS aided geo augmented navigation) – a project undertaken by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) in association with Airports Authority of India (AAI) – becomes operational, it will free the airspace and flying will become cheaper,” said Dr B P Sharma, Director, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata.

Gagan is an indigenous system is expected to become functional as soon as the third Gagan payload is launched into space. The timeline for the project is to end in June, 2013, but officials believe that Gagan will become operational before that. Once this happens, India will be the fourth country in the world to have a satellite-based system that will allow seamless navigation over Indian airspace. Once Gagan becomes operational, India will no longer have to be dependent on the US for GPS data.

“Once Gagan is in place, airport Air Traffic Controls (ATCs) will be able to locate an aircraft anywhere with the help of satellites. This is not possible at present and pilots can only communicate with the ATCs when they are within range. Due to this limitation, pilots can’t take a linear route from one point to the other but follow one that keeps them within range of one ATC or the other. A round-about route not only leads to more fuel consumption but also added flying time.

With Gagan, flights can fly directly from one point to the other. The system will also calculate parameters such as wind speed (from the opposite direction) that can reduce an aircraft’s speed and use up more fuel. The new system will allow correction of a flight path accordingly,” an ISRO official said.

The data collected and transferred to the INMCC by INRES like Kolkata will be worked upon and the end result sent back in nanoseconds. This will ensure no delay in flight movement.

“Airlines will save on fuel and time. The stress will be lower on flight crews and air traffic controllers. As Gagan will provide more accurate co-ordinates, the mandatory separation between two aircraft will also come down substantially (as it is in the US). This will add to capacity. Most importantly, the higher level of accuracy will bring about greater safety for passengers. In a competitive market, airlines will certainly pass down some of their savings to passengers and flights will be cheaper,” the official added.

Source: Times of India