Towards Efficient Operations

, AAI Updates

The new state-of-the-art Air Traffic Control (ATC) Tower with additional capacity and advanced system is going to be operational soon at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport

Air Traffic Control (ATC) is a ground-based service provided by Air Traffic Controllers with the utmost objects of preventing collision, expediting as well as maintaining orderly flow of air traffic. Additionally, where required, they are also responsible for provision of aircraft advisory and flight information services in designated airspace. The ATC Tower is a mandatory aeronautical facility for any airport operation.


India is all set to get its highest ATC Tower in the National Capital that stands tall at a height of 101.9 metres. Constructed just opposite to the existing Air Traffic Services (ATS) Complex, Delhi ATC is soon going to be operated fully from a brand New Control Tower and Approach/Area Control Centre (ACC).


Air traffic at the Delhi Airport has been rising with every passing day and it became imperative to have an upgraded infrastructure for better functioning. ATC enforces traffic separation rules, ensuring that each aircraft maintains a minimum amount of empty space around it at all times to prevent any kind of collision.

The Air Traffic Management (ATM) automation and other systems installed in new ATC Tower and Area Control Centre Building were tested for the efficiency and to check the navigation systems installed in it. Parallel operations have been started and once completed, the operations will be shifted to the New ATC Tower fully.


With such considerable height and slender design, the new ATC Tower might be susceptible not only to the strong winds but chances are that it can also face huge damage in case of an earthquake, as Delhi falls in Seismic Zone 4. Considering the damage that a natural catastrophe can do, the new ATC Tower has an earthquake-resistant technology.

Being implemented in India for the first time, the tower uses a ‘Tuned Mass Damper’ to make it earthquake resistant. The new tower cabin comes with a 50-tonne Tuned Mass Damper preventing it from the extra sway during robust wind and earthquake. The damper works like a pendulum which during strong vibrations will sway in the opposite direction to which the building is moving, thereby producing a counter-balance and stabilising force. The damper is supported by suspension rods on four sides so that it doesn’t sway on its own when there is no vibration.


Apart from the strong structure, the new ATC tower provides better visibility and presents the controller a bird’s eye view of the operational area so as to keep surveillance on all the three runways, apron area and taxiways. With better visual observations, the controllers can take better operational decisions.   

The new building offers a view of each corner of the sprawling airport’s operational area. This upgrade will help the airport handle the air-traffic more efficiently and safely.


The ATC Tower also flaunts additional control positions and much-advanced systems that enable a reduction in the number of flights handled by a single controller, thereby increasing their efficacy.


The new set up in the Area Control Centre is done to help the controllers divide the airspace into multiple sectors. Extra division of airspace will reduce the number of flights handled by one controller per hour thereby enabling the existing airspace to accommodate increased air traffic in future.


At present, Delhi’s ATC works round the clock and manages around 1,260 flights daily with 75 peak hour handling capacity with overflying traffic of at least 250 planes. Over 40,000 movements are handled in a month. Once the new ATC Tower and ACC are operationalised, an independent parallel approach may be introduced on the parallel runways further increasing the capacity. The Delhi Airport currently functions with three runways, of which at least two runways are used any time for aircraft landing. To meet the increasing traffic demand, a new runway has been planned by the aerodrome operator, Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL).

The new ATC Tower’s eminence comes due to its height and design. With upgraded technology, this tower echoes a new facet towards aviation operations at the airport. The ATC Tower holds an impressive view of all ground operations, concentrating on improved safety, efficiency and security.

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