Concern over malfunctioning radar at LPIA
A malfunctioning radar at Lynden Pindling International Airport(LPIA)could result in serious delays in flight take-off times during the busy Christmas season, the president of the Air Traffic Controller’s Union(ACTU)warned.
“We continue to express concerns over the radar problems,”said Roscoe Perpall.”We are hoping that the radar will hold up during this busy season but if it doesn’t the flying public should expect delays.
“In the absence of the radar, we have to go to procedural operation where certain rules are applied.”
Perpall said in those cases pilots have to report when they arrive at certain points.
“With the radar we could land aircraft within one or two minutes,”he said.”Without it we need about seven to 10 minutes. That there spells delay in the movement.”
Perpall said whenever the radar is not functioning, air traffic controllers receive complaints from commercial operators.
“We have been having serious problems with radar for more than five years. Recently the last several independent reports[on the conditions of the airport]indicated that problems with the radar need to be addressed immediately,”he said.
“We had occasions where the radar would blink off for unknown reasons. The radar provides us with target generations and we use the description on the radar to separate aircraft. But the picture sometimes fluctuates or a target would jump from one location to the other and if we’re using that to keep two aircraft separated that is unreliable.”
Perpall said while the Department of Civil Aviation is seeking to address the problem, not enough is being done.
He said the union has recommended that the radar be refurbished or replaced.
“We’ve been working with the government to see if the software could be updated,”Perpall said.
He said the government indicated that it would have the radar replaced. However, Perpall said more urgency needs to be placed on the effort because of the critical nature of the device.
“We continue to be overly concerned with the frequent malfunctioning of the radar,”he said.