Operators in India will need to upgrade their aircraft's avionics systems this year to match the country's overhaul of its Air Traffic Control (ATC) system, a transportation official said during an Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) event.
Ashok Lavasa, India's civil aviation secretary, says that the implementation of Gagan is projected to save the nation's operators and airlines a combined $10 million annually in fuel savings. Gagan, jointly developed by Airports Authority of India, the Indian Space Research Organization and Raytheon, is a Satellite Based Augmentation System (SBAS) designed to allow aircraft equipped with SBAS receivers to fly en route navigation and non-precision approaches without vertical guidance within Indian airspace.
“Realizing maximum benefits from GNSS [Global Navigation Satellite System] based services in en-route and terminal airspace would virtually require all aircraft to be equipped with GNSS avionics,” said Lavasa. “Implementation decisions obviously should take into account aircraft operators’ plans to equip, which in turn depend upon cost savings which justify avionics and related costs.”
The upgrade need in India is similar to needs in the United States and Europe, where airlines and operators face the need to upgrade their aircraft to comply with NextGen and SESAR requirements. Operators have to invest in the technology up front and then receive the benefits of fuel savings by flying more direct routes once the entire Air Traffic (AT) system is modernized.
Also similar to civil aviation authorities in Europe and the U.S., Lavasa is calling for Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) and aircraft operators to "coordinate investments in the GNSS technology."
Lavasa said the deployment of Gagan will also support the nation's future AT growth, which is projected to be the third largest in the world.
“Satellite navigation technology is the vision of future, the development of Gagan is an essential cornerstone to future safety and capacity enhancement initiatives like free flight, enhanced Terrain Collision Avoidance (TCA) and Automatic Dependence Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) that provide surveillance to users that are not currently served especially at low altitudes and over the ocean," said Lavasa.