Seeking full utilisation of the Indian airspace, civil aviation authorities are in the process of training pilots and ATC personnel and introducing advanced technology to gradually reduce air distance between two aircraft from 50 nautical miles to 15.
To achieve this, new rules and regulations would be put in place to ensure that all aircraft are fitted with the required equipment to ensure reduction in required navigation performance, Director General of Civil Aviation Kanu Gohain said at a conference on aviation safety and security in New Delhi.
The height separation would also be reduced from the present 2,000 to 1,000 feet and added that the safety systems were working satisfactorily, he said.
Observing that major developments were in the offing in Indian civil aviation sector, Gohain said type certification had been granted to the indigenous Advanced Light Helicopter and Hansa and Saras aircraft for civilian use.
While Hansa is being developed as a trainer aircraft, Saras is a 14-seater light transport plane.
The protoypes of these indigenously produced choppers and aircraft, produced for the armed forces by HAL and other public sector units, have been type-certified as airworthy, he said.
However, several other tests, including test-flights are required to make them fully capable of carrying passengers, the top civil aviation official said.
The GAGAN satellite-based navigation system, developed jointly by the Indian Space Research Organisation and Airports Authority of India, was also in the offing, Gohain said, adding once this capability was achieved, "we will not have to depend on the (American) Global Positioning Satellite or the (Russian) GLONAS".
GAGAN would have a wide coverage ranging from the African and European countries to Australasia and tremendously improve India's communication, navigation and surveillance and air traffic management systems, he said.
Observing that six new airlines have come in during the past two years and a few more expected to get clearance by the year-end, Gohain said the total passengers carried and the load factors had gone up immensely during this period.
Randall Fiertz of he US Federal Aviation Authority, who also participated in the conference, said India and US had similar problems of airspace congestion, a varying terrain (mountains to deserts and seas), varying temperature.
"We will cooperate in all spheres of the sector with our Indian counterparts and work together" to resolve common problems, he said. FAA and DGCA have already signed agreements to deal with a variety of problems, including certification of Indian aviation equipment and services by the US.