Just providing Cat III ILS at any airport would serve no purpose

DQI Bureau
New Update

VP Agrawal took over as chairman of the Airports Authority of India on

January 1, 2009. Holding vast experience in engineering with specialization in

airport planning, expansion, and modification, management and passenger

facilitation, he has played an important role in the modernization and

upgradation of airports in India. He is also associated with the setting up of

greenfield airports in the country including provision of state-of-the-art

CNS/ATM equipments and the prestigious Geo Aided GPS Augmented Navigation (GAGAN)

Project, and introduction of performance based navigation (PBN) procedures at

Delhi and Mumbai airports. He was associated with major engineering site

preparation works for upgradation and automation of ATS systems at Indias

gateway airportsDelhi and Mumbai.


Top on his agenda going forward is implementation of the new integrated

ATS automation system at Chennai and Kolkata airports, tower automation for

major airports in India, RADAR networking and efficient air traffic flow

management to achieve seamless surveillance coverage of continental air space.

That are some of the milestones in terms of IT infrastructure and

management that have been achieved in major airports in India?

Well, we at AAI have taken many initiatives in IT in the last couple of

years, which has undoubtedly manifested not only in enhanced performance but

also made the systems user friendly: provision of IT Intranet at more than

seventy-five airports with MPLS based VPN connectivity; voice over IP telephony

services at airports, implementation of Airport Information Management System

(AIMS) at seventy-five airports, use of GIS technology for GIS based land and

asset management system (GLAMS) at eighteen airports and ATS automation system

for thirty-eight airports.


In addition to these, we have deployed various cutting-edge IT applications

for streamlining the day to day functions of AAI. We have consolidated and

virtualized in both Unix and Windows based environment for optimized use of

existing server infrastructure; we actively use enterprise management tools for

network, VPN, server, database, mail/messaging monitoring and management

including use of application performance management tool to ensure code

optimization. We have also deployed SAN/NAS for enterprise wide data

accumulation for various IT enabled applications and files. Some of the other

key IT initiatives include use of GIS technique for land & asset management and

for height clearance process for high rise buildings, mast and chimneys near

about airports and air routes; use of Intranet portal for document collaboration

and work flow based routine processes, use of web based enterprise wide project

management for efficient handling of large value projects. In addition, we have

also participated in proof of concept trials for Common Use Passenger Processing

System (CUPPS).

How is AAI tackling the increased security and screening requirements at

airports in India?

Appropriate contingency plans have been evolved and are in place. The

initiatives include installation of state-of-the-art digital security

surveillance CCTVs at most of the hyper-sensitive airports.

The use of video analytics software is providing an edge in handling security

issues with ease and efficiency. Perimeter intrusion detection systems are also

underway, as is in-line baggage handling system with 5 level scanning

capability. Smart card and biometrics based access control systems at fifteen

hyper sensitive airports is in the pipeline. The access control system will be

in line with latest technical specifications being finalized by BCAS. Finally,

we are implementing an airport operational database and airport operations

control center at key airports to share CCTV footage and other operational

parameters for timely and effective handling of airport incidents and security

related issues.


How many airports in India are Cat III compliant? To what extent do you

feel this will bring down fog induced delays and accidents?

At present we only have one airport, Delhi, which is Cat III compliant. Just

providing Cat III ILS at any airport would serve no purpose, as you would

appreciate that the expenditure incurred in provisioning of any facility ought

to commensurate with the utility, ie, the traffic at the airport and also the

capability of the airline operator to utilize the facility. There is no denying

the fact that availability of Cat III facility does considerably assist the

airline operator to operate in low visibility.

According to you, does the IT needs vary depending on whether a project is

a greenfield airport or a brownfield airport?

For a brownfield airport, ensuring the use of existing systems by proper

integration with latest IT based tools is really a big challenge. Moreover,

airlines, concessionaires, ground handlers and other agencies operating at an

existing airport do have their own dedicated IT infrastructure in place for

their day to day operations. In such a scenario, it becomes an operational

challenge to provide a common shareable IT infrastructure and IT enabled

services to all stakeholders at an airport. Migrations from existing systems and

applications in use to proposed new IT systems have both operational and cost

implication issues.

What are the key functions and activities in an airport where you believe

IT plays a critical role today?

With the availability of newer IT based systems and applications including

AODB and AOCC, it has now become practically possible to integrate inputs from

all the IT based systems and an airport under the control of various

stakeholders including ATC, airlines, concessionaires, customs, immigration,

ground handling agencies, meteorological department, security setup, etc. Though

IT based systems were available at airports under the control of different

agencies operating at an airport, these systems were working in silos.


Are you exploring any next gen concepts with your consultants and domain


AAI has already undertaken a leading step as a part of modernization of

Kolkata, Chennai and other thirty-five non-metro airports. Some of the new

terminal buildings have already been put into operations, whereas construction

activities are in final stages at other remaining airports. Simultaneously, AAI

is taking up projects for use of IT based system for airport management at

Kolkata, Chennai and other thirty-five non-metro airports in a phased manner.

Apart from this centralized systems for airport operational database (AODB),

FIDS and resource management system and common use IT network and VoIP telephony

shall be provided at airports. We have sufficient domain knowledge and know-how

available in-house to design and implement these projects.

Priya Kekre