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AAI meets world civil aviation body’s flight plan format in time

Airports Authority of India (AAI) has introduced a new flight plan (FPL) format in order to meet the needs of aircraft with advanced capabilities and the requirements of automated air traffic management (ATM) systems, which was one of the targets fixed by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) for global implementation.

AAI, as the national air navigation service provider (ANSP), has also been successful in meeting the target date set by ICAO for global implementation of the new flight plan format.

This format is being referred to as Flight Plan 2012 (FPL2012). It has been introduced to ‘update the ICAO model flight plan form’ while taking into account compatibility with existing systems, human factors, training, cost and transition aspects.

In earlier versions of the flight plan, the new avionics capabilities of aircraft were not reflected. Hence, controllers had to confirm from the pilot the capability of aircraft.

With the introduction of Flight Plan 2012, the capabilities of aircraft will be displayed in air traffic controllers' air situation displays.

An alert will be generated in the controller’s computer for non-compliant aircraft (with respect to particular equipment or procedures).

This will help controllers in ascertaining the capability of aircraft in advance, thereby facilitating enhanced service delivery.

As a result, a higher number of aircraft can be accommodated in a given volume of airspace at fuel-efficient levels and radio-telephony communication between pilots and air traffic controllers will reduce.

In order to implement ICAO FPL 2012, software changes have been made in all systems connected with flight plans.

These  include automatic fixed telecommunication network (AFTN), automatic message switching system (AMSS), air traffic message handling system (AMHS) and automated air traffic management (ATM) systems.

Training of air traffic controllers and CNS personnel and testing have been completed in accordance with the ICAO transition plan.

The latest changes in flight plan format may be compared with the Y2K millennium bug and implementation of reduced vertical separation minima (RVSM) by ICAO.

Similar preparations have been made at all ATC centres so that no flight is delayed due to the change in flight plan format.  Software specialists have been deployed at Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata airports on round-the-clock basis to solve any software problem during the initial phase of implementation.
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