Hyderabad: India achieved significant strides in space research and the credit goes to Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). This institution is now playing a crucial role in securing the aviation space and thus enhancing safety of air passengers by ensuring access to better navigation systems for airport personnel, pilots and others.
ISRO, in collaboration with government aviation agency and regulator Airports Authority of India (AAI), developed Geo Augmented GPS Aided Navigation (GAGAN) with an investment of Rs 800 crore. The primary purpose of this satellite-based navigation system is to enhance the accuracy of GPS signals and improve its availability, integrity and continuity across India and neighbouring countries.
It is claimed to be the first satellite-based augmentation system in the world certified for approach with vertical guidance operating in the equatorial ionosphere region. India is the fourth country to implement such a system. The US, Europe, Japan already implemented navigation systems.
Amber Dubey, partner and India head of Aerospace and Defence at KPMG, told Telangana Today: “All new aircraft flying from January 1, 2019 onwards will have to be GAGAN-capable. All old aircraft flying in the Indian airspace from January 1, 2025 onwards shall need to be system capable.”
GAGAN will also play a critical role in promoting regional connectivity. It will provide access to remote runways and air strips. GAGAN Approaches, also known as Localiser Performance with Vertical Guidance (LPV approaches) will ensure safe landing at airports without any navigation aids. This will give a push to the government’s plan to enhance regional connectivity, Dubey said.
It has become a priority for Aviation Ministries, airport operators and airlines to maintain high safety of their passengers and bring down the accident rates, globally. According to the United Nations agency, International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), global accident statistics for the last five years show a decrease in both the number of accidents as well as the accident rate. In 2016 the downward trend in the number of accidents continued with 75 accidents reported by nations representing an 18 per cent decrease from 2015.
Over the same period there was an increase in scheduled commercial departures, which resulted in a global accident rate of 2.1 accidents per million departures, down by 25 per cent from the 2015 rate of 2.8 accidents per million departures. Commercial air transport accidents in 2016 resulted in 182 fatalities, which is a return to a similar level as 2013 when there were 173 fatalities.