Indian Navy Proposals to Enhance Airspace Synergy and Safety at Visakhapatnam Airport
Apropos some apprehensions noticed in the section of the media about flying operations from naval airfield at Visakhapatnam, it is clarified that Indian Navy has proposed to dedicate time slots for civil and military flying operations at Visakhapatnam airport to ensure synergy of airspace management and facilitate safe conduct of both civil and military flying operations. The Navy’s proposal is on the lines of similar arrangements existing at other joint civil-military aerodromes such as Goa, Pune etc.
Visakhapatnam is a dual user airport where civil and military flying from INS Dega is undertaken concurrently. Over the past five years, both civil and military flying from Visakhapatnam has witnessed a steep increase in numbers and passenger volumes. Presently, around forty civil flights operate from Visakhapatnam constituting eighty movements of civil aircraft per day. Military flying from INS Dega has also increased significantly due to enhanced surveillance requirements on the Eastern sea board and induction of fighter squadrons for training and operations. On an average, there are 90 to 100 military aircraft movements every day. With simultaneous civil and military aircraft operations on a unidirectional runway, which is peculiar to Visakhapatnam, landing and takeoffs of civil flights encounter delays thereby inconveniencing passengers and affecting connecting flight schedules.
After deliberations and concurrence of all airline operators and Airport Director Visakhapatnam, dedicated time slots for exclusive military flying were proposed from 09:30 AM to 12:30 PM between Monday to Friday, 03:00 PM to 05:00 PM on Tuesday and Thursday, 07:00 PM to 09:00 PM on Tuesday and Thursday. Subsequently the proposal is further being reviewed to have dedicated military flying slot only from 09:30 AM to 12:30 PM between Monday to Friday. The above time slot has been arrived at taking into account frequency of movement of civil flights to ensure least disturbance. Out of the forty civil flights daily, on an average only six to eight civil flights operate between 09:30 AM to 12:30 PM. A final decision on the proposed dedicated military slots will only be taken post discussions with AAI and Airline operators at Integrated Headquarters Ministry of Defence (Navy), New Delhi.
The Navy’s proposal is intended to synergise civil and military flying, enhance safety on a unidirectional runway and minimise delays in arrival and departure of civil flights. The proposal will not restrict or reduce the number of civil flights operating from Visakhapatnam. Operations of air ambulance flights, aircraft in emergency and VIP flights would continue to be accorded priority at all times over both civil and military flying as hitherto fore.