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Air India Express gets CAT-III-B certification

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Air India Express (AIE), the overseas budget arm of Air India, has secured the Category III-B certification from regulator DGCA, which allows it to operate in dense foggy conditions. Air India Express flights can now land and takeoff in low visibility conditions even up to an RVR (runway visual range) as low as up to 50 m, the airline said. The airline is now 100 per cent CAT III-B certified and all its pilots have also completed the low visibility training, required for carrying out operations in foggy conditions.

Domestic airlines are required to deploy only CAT-III compliant planes and crew trained to fly under low visibility conditions while operating in and out of a CAT-III. At present, only three airports – New Delhi, Jaipur and Lucknow – are CAT III-B compliant aerodromes.

The fog season in the North generally sets in from the first week of December every year. The airline is also qualified for LVTO (low visibility take-off) of up to 125 m, which will avoid delays during foggy days, Air India Express said. A wholly-owned subsidiary of the disinvestment-bound national carrier, Air India Express operates around 555 departures a week, connecting 16 cities to 13 destinations in the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

The airline has a fleet of 23 Boeing 737-800 NG aircraft, six of which are brand new. As much as 60 per cent of this capacity is deployed from the three airports in Kerala alone.