Airports Authority of India (AAI) is putting in place a backup for the microwave link that connects critical aircraft communication, navigation and surveillance equipment to prevent a repeat of Thursday’s blackout.
AAI officials said RailTel was installing its internet backbone to provide a second connectivity to fall back on in case the primary microwave link service provided by BSNL failed. “Installation of the redundancy line has been expedited and should be in place in three-four months,” an official said. RailTel owns a pan-India optic fibre network on exclusive right of way along railway tracks.
While Thursday’s link failure had led to a critical situation in Kolkata air traffic control as connectivity to remote VHF radio units had also failed, a radar link failure had happened in October 2015, necessitating the backup. Seamless connectivity between air traffic controllers and pilots is of paramount importance to ensure flight safety as it is the controllers who monitor the relative position of planes and provide navigation guidance by communicating through VHF radio.