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Low visibility at HSIA

New advanced landing tech to be ready by April

Published : 14 Jan 2024 12:45 AM

The country’s main airport Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HSIA) in the capital still suffers low visibility every year during winter seasons caused by a dense fog. 

Such outdated system of aircraft landing during low visibility would be improved by end of March this year. 

Officials have clarified that starting four days ago, the airport authority has temporarily suspended the operation of ILS Category-1. Instead, they are currently conducting performance tests for ILS Category-2. If the tests yield positive results, the implementation of the latest technological support is anticipated to resume landing of aircrafts during low visibility from March this year. 

Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) member (ATM) Air Commodore Md Readad Hossain told Bangladesh Post, “The installation process of ILS category-2 in our airport is continuing, once the installation process is completed we will calibrate it from March 6 to March 17. If everything goes well we are optimistic that we will be able to use the upgraded technology at the end of March or from the beginning of April.” 

As the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HSIA) does not have the latest technological facilities, airliners have to count extra money for flight operations as they are diverted during dense fog. Flight operation costs are going up to 10 percent to 20 percent higher.  

According to the airport information, if the visibility is below 600 meters, the airports switch to Low Visibility Procedures (LVPs). 

However, according to Flight Deck Friend, most commercial aircraft are capable of landing in thick fog, but it can depend on the type of aircraft and the facilities associated with the runway and airport. Some planes can land when the visibility is as low as 75 metres.

To overcome the misery it is necessary to have high-level Instrument Landing Systems (ILS) category-2. HSIA has ILS Category-1. Modernization of equipment is 

needed to overcome this situation.

Installation of high-level Instrument Landing Systems (ILS) Category 2 was expected to ameliorate this situation, but to materialise the anticipated improvement, it will take a few months more. 

During discussions with the relevant officials, it was discovered that the originally estimated three-month duration for the ongoing project has exceeded a year. The delay is attributed to modifications resulting from the construction of the third terminal, as the authorities are integrating the new airport with the advanced ILS Category-2. 

According to CAAB sources, a tender was called for ILS Category-2 installation last year. Following the required procedure, related equipment arrived in the country in November last year. Now the installation process is continuing. 

HSIA Executive Director Group Captain Mohammad Kamrul Islam acknowledging the disruption due to dense fog said that a good number of flights were diverted to neighboring countries but this this situation will not persist in the coming winter.