• India will soon switch over to 4-digit flight numbers

    In a bid to enhance safe flying and end the confusion caused by similar sounding call signs or flight numbers, India will soon switch over to longer flight numbers. Instead of the current three-digit flights numbers, the country will transition to longer four-digit ones.

    The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is working on this switch over as India has witnessed an exponential growth in air traffic in past few years and is the world’s fastest growing aviation market.

    The existing three-digit numbers are increasingly leading to confusion and there has been a spate of safety scares when similar sounding flight numbers operate to or from the same airport around the same time — something which happens very frequently due to the volume of traffic now.

    For instance, the regular approved a schedule of 16,600 weekly domestic flights in the ongoing winters, up 21% from last winter’s figure of 13,744. The four-digit flight numbers will simply mean more available flight numbers and removing the possibility of similar sounding flights operating to or from the same airport close to each other.

    “This is a very important project. We have had a few meetings on this issue and hope to crystalise this in the next week or so. A number of other countries have moved to four digit flight numbers and we will also do so shortly given the rise in air traffic here,” said a senior DGCA official.  Neal Sterling Jersey

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