Indian aviation: A mass market takeoff is in everyone’s interest
- An expected flying boom, apart from the government’s effort to make India an aviation hub, is set to give global aircraft and service suppliers an indirect stake in a smooth mass-market takeoff.
Last week, civil aviation authorities issued Indian airlines an alert on GPS spoofing, which refers to unauthorized agents intercepting satellite signals to send airborne aircraft fake instructions. Though a worldwide problem, instances of such hacking have risen over West Asia lately, and the risk it poses cannot be taken lightly. Flights have even ventured without permission into Iranian airspace as a result of being misled. If spurious messages can send commercial aircraft off-course, they could be mistaken for enemy intrusions and shot down. It could also interfere with onboard flight management systems or distort gauges for fuel, altitude, speed and other readings—with grave consequences. A solution by way of a technical fix to fend off flight hackers could take time. In the meantime, pilots must not just be cautioned but also trained to detect spoofing attempts. It is this sector’s misfortune that such a worry has arisen at a time of high flux. Domestic demand for flying has revived after the covid pandemic, but global supply chain snarls and other factors have left capacity constraints in place. A major problem of Indian aviation at this juncture is a high proportion of grounded aircraft.