Bengaluru: The construction of a technical block by the Bengaluru International Airport Ltd (BIAL) near the runway has now forced the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) to shift its runway visibility sensors to avoid blockage of signals.
The sensors are fixed at both ends of the runway and transmit data regarding visibility range to the Air Traffic Control (ATC). But in the last few weeks the ATC’s weather section stopped receiving them. Upon verification it was found out that the new technical block was blocking the signals.Since Tuesday a team of meteorologists from IMD’s Pune branch has taken up the repairs of runway instruments.
“We are now upgrading the technology so that the signals can be reached the ATC tower even if there are few obstructions. The tower at BIA is about 40 metres tall and we are shifting the equipment to ATC tower. These newly-fitted equipment are Wi-Fi in nature and can transmit the visibility trend to ATC round-the-clock,” said an IMD official from BIA.
The airport witnesses heavy air traffic during early morning hours and also faces visibility issues during that time. During winters, the visibility levels at Devanahall fall to even less than 100 metres. “Due to presence of open spaces and water bodies around the airport, it is common to have fog during early morning hours. This is the time we often witness flight diversions. The ATC remains in touch with nearby airports such as Chennai and Coimbatore,” the IMD official said.
Aviation experts point out that the upgraded Delhi airport has installed CAT III-B ILS, which allows operations with a Runway Visual Range (RVR) or visibility of 75 metres.
But BIA has a CAT I ILS that requires an RVR of 550 metres. But during winters the visibility at BIA often falls below 500 metres.