The Airports Authority of India (AAI) is expected shortly to sign a memorandum of understanding with the Indian Space Organisation (ISRO) on the joint development of a satellite-based augmentation system for commercial aircraft.

The Rs5,000 million ($106 million) project, which is being spearheaded by the country's Department of Space and Ministry of Civil Aviation, is designed to improve navigation and safety. The AAI is set to contribute a major part of funding for the project, provisionally slated for completion in 2010.

ISRO will be responsible for the space segment, providing transponder capability on board India's INSAT satellite, while AAI will handle the ground segment, including maintenance and operation of the ground terminals which will be located at Indian airports.

The satellite navigation system is one of several programmes AAI is planning to improve the safety and efficiency of air transport operations. These include a Rs500 million automatic flight data processing system to monitor and control operations at India's major airports.

The US Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration are participating in the International Air Transport Association's Global Navigation Satellite System Procedures Development Project in Africa, which aims to implement satellite navigation in 14 southern African states. The FAA will be responsible for flight inspection and certificating the procedures.

Source: Flight International