Bahrain’s aviation regulator, Civil Aviation Affairs (CAA), in cooperation with Bahrain Airport Company (BAC), the operator and managing body of Bahrain International Airport (BIA), has announced the completion of the first phase of an air navigation and instrument landing system (ILS) upgrade.
The new upgrade is set to markedly improve the airport’s landing safety procedures and efficiency, it said in a statement.
The initiative is in line with the Ministry of Transportation and Telecommunications’ efforts to ensure that the kingdom’s air navigation system meets the standards and requirements of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
ILS is a state-of-the-art runway approach aid that uses radio beams to provide pilots with vertical and horizontal guidance during an approach, enabling them to navigate and land safely in difficult weather conditions and low visibility. BIA’s upgrade from CAT I to CATII is a significant milestone in the Airport Modernisation Programme, which will help to lessen the number of flights diverted from BIA, reduce flight delays, and ensure greater passenger safety.
The Minister of Transportation and Telecommunications, Engineer Kamal bin Ahmed Mohammed, said: “The upgrade follows the directives of Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Premier, HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa to accelerate the modernisation of our air navigation systems to accommodate expected civil aviation sector growth in accordance with the comprehensive development plan of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa.
"Work on the second phase of the project, which will see the ILS upgraded to CAT III, is also proceeding according to plan and is expected to be fully implemented in time for the completion of the Airport Modernisation Programme by Q3 2019. This will further strengthen the kingdom’s leading position in civil aviation, both regionally and internationally, and enable BIA to provide excellent services with the highest levels of safety for all airspace users.”
The minister added that recent technology improvements have encouraged airports and airlines to search for optimal methods of dealing with difficult weather conditions, such as the CATll and CATlllB systems. He also announced that BAC is in the process of appointing a consultant to upgrade BIA’s ILS to CATlllB, which will allow aircraft to land at visibilities as low as 50 metres. The improvements will include the installation of additional lights on the runway and the development of auxiliary substations to support CATlll operations.
Under this system, aircrafts using the airspace within the Bahrain Flight Information Region will be able to take off and land at altitudes of less than 60m (200ft) above the height of the landing zone and as low as 30m (100ft), and with runway visibilities of as low as 350m.
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