PUNE-BASED Surface Instrumentation (SI) division of the India Meteorology Department (IMD) has been roped in to supply instruments to nearly 52 airports across the country under the Udan scheme. UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik) is an initiative of the government aimed at development of regional airports.
The maiden flight under the scheme took off between Jalgaon and Mumbai on December 22. The Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had recently approved nearly 100 new routes to be covered under the scheme, which are expected to gather pace by February next year.
The IMD operates 57 aeronautical meteorological stations, along with 17 aerodrome meteorological offices in the country.
A senior officer from the SI division, IMD, Pune, said, “Along with standard airport instruments, many of these airports would have restricted flying schedules… and would require installation of specific instruments.”
In Maharashtra, installation work is in progress at Aurangabad and Kolhapur airports. Installations were recently completed at Jalgaon and Shirdi airports, after which trial flights were carried out from the temple town two months ago. Currently, the department is working on procuring and calibrating airport instruments required for day to day operations, including temperature, wind speed, humidity and sunshine recorders, at these airports.
Drishti, a transmissometre that aides in improving the runway visibility, is the latest addition to the airport instruments being ingenuously developed by IMD.
An official said, “At present, a total of 26 airports are equipped with Drishti and installation is in progress at 13 others. Proposals of installations at seven new airports are in the pipeline. We hope to reach the 50 mark by the end of 2018.”
The instrument is exclusively supplied for airports located close to hilly terrains, along with those in the northern parts of the country, where flight operations are often hit by heavy fogging.