Vistara, AirAsia India unlikely to get nod for CAT IIIB operations


NEW DELHI: Tata-SIA joint venture airline Vistara and budget carrier AirAsia India are unlikely to get aviation regulator DGCA’s nod for CAT-IIIB operations in low visibility during foggy season this year, sources have said.

In a CAT IIIB operation, aircraft can land in visibility of as low as 50m while the normal minimum visibility required for take off from Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) is 125m.

IGIA is the only domestic airport equipped with CAT-IIIB technology.

“Both Vistara and Air Asia India may not get CAT-IIIB this year,” DGCA sources said today.

Apart from other domestic airports, these two carriers have their flight operations from Delhi as well.

Sources also said that while another private carrier Jet Airways has already received DGCA approval for CAT-III B operations, a decision on Gurgaon-based SpiecJet’s application was expected shortly.

In order to conduct low-visibility landings an airline requires certification for its aircraft and pilots, who need to undergo ground training, simulator training and flying under the supervision of examiners.

The pilots operating flights under such weather conditions also need to undergo checks and supervised flying every six months in order to retain their ratings and the DGCA issues certification to an airline after it demonstrates a stipulated number of simulated low-visibility landings.

As per the DGCA norms, airlines are required to deploy only CAT-IIIB compliant planes as well as trained crew for flying out of those airports in the country which face dense fog during winter.

Meanwhile, three more airports – Lucknow, Jaipur and Amritsar would be upgraded to CAT-IIIB level from the coming winter, sources said.

Besides, six other airports – Raipur, Bhubaneswar, Varanasi, Indore, Udaipur and Vadodra will be on extended watch for diversion of flights, they said.

The Civil Aviation Ministry in January this year had said that it was planning to make 13 more airports including Amritsar, Jaipur, Chandigarh, Kolkata and Patna feasible for operations to ensure seamless departures and arrival of aircraft during the foggy seasons.

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