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Flight Safety Endangered as TIA Fails to Fix Voice Communication Control System

Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), has failed to re-operate its Voice Communications Control System (VCCS) after more than a month of it being dysfunctional.

Why it matters:

  • To ensure smooth flight operations as per International standards, an Air Traffic Control (ATC) provider is required to maintain both primary and secondary frequencies under the VCSS.
  • This allows the users to immediately tune their communication radios to the other if one is disturbed.
  • The current situation of the VCSS puts flight safety at high risk.

What they are saying:

  • “It’s been more than a month since the critical ATC communications are being carried out through backup portable VHF radio transceivers at Tribhuvan International Airport as the primary as well as secondary frequencies (118.1/118.5 MHz) for aerodrome control service at the control tower went dysfunctional due to VCCS failure,” said on-duty air traffic controllers.
  • According to a TIA source, the technicians have also failed to identify the problem with the communication system.
  • “Portable VHF radio transceivers can only be used as an emergency backup just for a day or two but VCCS witnessed a problem since December 16.”, says a senior ATC officer. According to him, poor-quality aging portable radio transceivers are also not immune from the problem as ATCs often receive complaints from the aircraft crew. “Neither the TIA authority nor the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal seemed serious about resolving the problem.” The situation could get worse and even lead to near-misses or even mid-air collision while handling inbound and outbound aircraft if the problem is not resolved, he added.
  • “Till date, there is no Notice to Airmen issued to inform the users — flight crew — about the dysfunctional state of its primary and secondary frequencies,” a senior captain with a private airline said, adding, “It’s a criminal negligence.”

What is being done:

Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN)’s Deputy General Raj Kumar Chettri said that he would seriously take up the case and instruct the concerned departments to resolve the problem immediately.

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