Air Traffic Management STRATEGY, TECHNOLOGY AND MANAGEMENT FOR THE WORLD'S MOST GLOBAL INDUSTRY Mon, 27 Jul 2015 15:17:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 ESSP signs up to work with Belgocontrol Fri, 24 Jul 2015 09:41:54 +0000 More ››]]>

EGNOS service provider ESSP and the Belgium’s Belgocontrol are to work together to implement EGNOS-based approach procedures (LPV procedures) at various Belgium airports.

The agreement was sealed on 11 June by Thierry Racaud, ESSP CEO, and Johan Decuyper, Belgocontrol’s chief executive.

The signature of an EGNOS working agreement establishes the operational and legal framework to use the EGNOS Safety-of-Life Service as navigation aid between the EGNOS Service Provider – ESSP- and the correspondent national air navigation service provider. The EWA is the prior step to the publication of APV-1 SBAS approaches (LPV procedures) that offer almost similar performance to ILS CAT 1.

Thierry Racaud, ESSP chief executive said: “From now on airports in Belgium can benefit from the publication of EGNOS-based procedures. This will improve an aircraft’s approach performance and accessibility, especially in case of bad weather conditions. Let’s welcome a new EGNOS player at European skies.”

The implementation of APV-1 approaches at Brussels airport and at regional airports where Belgocontrol provides air traffic services, will significantly enhance their accessibility by allowing safe and smooth operations under adverse weather conditions

Johan Decuyper said: The implementation and publication of instrument approach procedures with vertical guidance at runway ends without ILS fits into the Belgocontrol policy aiming to guarantee and even improve an efficient and quality service to our customers”.

Implementation plans for up to 16 procedures at Belgian aerodromes have been drafted; the design of the initial ones have been initiated for Antwerp, Charleroi and Brussels airports.

The first LPV-procedure using the EGNOS system is expected to be operationally available at Antwerp by December.

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SITA acquires delair Air Traffic Systems Thu, 23 Jul 2015 14:26:09 +0000 More ››]]> Air transport communications and IT solutions has acquired delair Air Traffic Systems, a provider of Airport Collaborative Decision Making (A-CDM) solutions for airports based in Braunschweig, Germany.

The acquisition will strengthen SITA’s position as the leader in Airport Management Systems (AMS) by offering an A-CDM product that is in increasing demand by airports around the world.

The additional functionalities such as departure sequencing, de-icing and performance management broaden the reach and capabilities of SITA’s Airport Management solution, currently used by over 150 airports in 48 countries. The addition of delair’s solutions both complements and extends SITA’s overall airport offering and increases SITA’s ability to provide airport solutions that balance operational efficiencies with business results.

Francesco Violante, CEO of SITA, said: “The addition of delair’s depth of airport A-CDM expertise will provide SITA’s customers with an even stronger comprehensive Airport Management solution resulting in greater control of their operations, simplifying complexity and improving profitability. This acquisition will further bolster SITA’s position as the number one airport ICT provider, with presence in 1,000+ airports around the world.”

Dietmar Dippe, general manager of delair, said: “The technical capabilities we have built at delair over the past 18 years complement SITA’s global reach in the airport sector and we look forward to becoming part of the SITA success story.”

SITA will continue to develop delair’s products and will provide support for all delair’s existing customers.  Members of the delair staff will remain located in Braunschweig, Germany.


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Airbus ProSky, Volaris to deploy PBN in Mexico Thu, 23 Jul 2015 13:58:34 +0000 More ››]]> Ultra-low cost airline Volaris has selected Airbus ProSky to assist in deploying Performance Based Navigation (PBN) airspaces at Tijuana and Guadalajara international airports.

The deployment of Required Navigation Performance (RNP) will be performed through a holistic approach – the design of the procedures along with specific tailored training are part of a national initiative driven, jointly, by the Dirección General de Aeronáutica Civil (DGAC) of Mexico and Servicios a la Navegación en el Espacio Aéreo Mexicano (SENEAM).

This deployment is part of the Airbus initiative to actively promote the deployment of PBN procedures in the region for the benefit of the industry, which brings greater assurance to the safety equation and reduces flight crew workload.

The key success factor will be to involve all the stakeholders and start with the regulatory implementation requirements. To achieve this, a specific national workshop was held and opened to any operator interested in RNP operations. The deployment phase will be pursued through a collaborative process, taking into consideration both SENEAM controllers and Volaris pilots design requirements.

The project also encompasses a tailored training for SENEAM controllers in order to increase confidence and knowledge about mixing conventional and PBN traffic. The DGAC requires operators to deliver an operational approval dossier and qualify their pilots for RNP-AR operations. Airbus ProSky will support Volaris in defining and performing the training programme through a “train the trainer” plan.

Enrique Beltranena, Volaris chief executive said: “International airports like Tijuana and Guadalajara are facing major traffic growth, which requires the implementation of new airspaces based on the PBN concept in order to cope with the growth. The project will be managed in close collaboration with the DGAC of Mexico and SENEAM as having those entities working together with us guarantees that the programme will be a great success not only for Volaris but also for any qualified operator with service to those airports. In addition, fuel efficient procedures mean less CO2 emissions, resulting in environmental benefits.”

Rafael Alonso-Nivez, Airbus ProSky regional director added: “The deployment of PBN procedures at key mid-size airports in Mexico is a great step forward in implementing efficient and modern airspace concepts in the country. The procedures to be delivered should offer several operational benefits to Airlines including better minima and shorter trajectories. In addition, the controllers benefit – by reducing workload thanks to anticipated pre-defined aircraft path and less radio communication. The procedures will be therefore made fully available for any qualified operator as the aim of those procedures is to benefit to the whole Mexican aeronautical industry.”

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Airways launches digital departure clearances Thu, 23 Jul 2015 09:36:24 +0000 More ››]]> Airways New Zealand has this week introduced digital departure clearances, with the use of this latest technology bringing clear benefits for its airline customers.

Digital Departure Clearance (DCL) is the first operational use of data link technology between aircrew and air traffic controllers within New Zealand’s domestic air traffic management environment.

Chief operating officer Pauline Lamb said DCL improves safety and efficiency as well as standardising procedures.

“DCL decreases radio time for pilots and controllers in dealing with critical but often routine radio communications. It also reduces the potential for operational errors caused by language difficulties, and mirrors the systems used in many other countries around the world,” said Lamb.

By replacing many verbal interactions between pilot and controller, DCL eliminates much of the potential for misunderstandings. The system sends digital messages that include Standard Instrument Departure, transition and route instructions for a departing flight and confirmation of the current weather report (ATIS). Automation confirms the receipt of messages or alerts users to malfunctions, removing a significant amount of the manual administration previously required.

Air New Zealand was the first airline to use Airways’ DCL service.

The first operational digital Departure Clearance was requested by NZ282 and issued by Auckland Tower at 11:28pm Wednesday 22 July.

The service is now in use for flights departing from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch that have a compatible (ED85a) communication system.

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Airservices OneSKY software contracts signed Thu, 23 Jul 2015 08:20:56 +0000 More ››]]> Airservices Australia has entered the next stage of delivering Australia’s future civil-military air traffic control system, signing the initial contracts for the design and build of the software system.

This is a significant milestone for the OneSKY Australia programme that will see Airservices and the Department of Defence deliver the most advanced and integrated air traffic control system in the world.

The OneSKY programme is Australia’s new harmonised civil-military air traffic management system replacing both the current systems that have been in operation since the 1990s. These are both approaching end of life and require replacement.

It will also ensure that Airservices and Defence, together, are in a position to manage forecast growth of air traffic movement in Australia of 60 per cent by 2030.

Airservices chief executive officer, Margaret Staib, said that one of the main benefits of the future system is that it will be modular and adaptable.

“The future system will be agile and allow for any future changes in airspace policy, technology advances, or service provision,” Staib said.

“The OneSKY programme will deliver a range of benefits to the nation and our customers and enable a new level of world leading operational efficiency and safety, while helping to reduce delays for the travelling public and improve environmental outcomes.”

OneSKY will incorporate the latest global air traffic management concepts from SESAR in Europe and NextGen in the United States as well as meet the requirements for future air traffic control services under the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Block Upgrade programme.

This contract is one of a series of works orders to enable the progression of the programme to modernise air traffic management by 2021.

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Lockheed Martin to review its ATM business Tue, 21 Jul 2015 13:44:17 +0000 More ››]]> Lockheed Martin is deciding whether to sell or spin off its ATM business as part of a strategic review of its government IT and technical services.

The five business units which are under review represent roughly $6 billion in estimated 2015 annual sales and more than 17,000 employees.

“As global security market dynamics shift, this review will strengthen our competitive posture, enabling sustained, profitable growth and positioning Lockheed Martin to deliver value for customers, shareholders and employees,” Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson said at the business’s second quarter financial results.

Hewson said the strategic review will be completed this year and “could result in one or more transactions” involving the targeted businesses. “There’s a number of possible scenarios,” she told analysts.

Lockheed Martin’s En Route Automation Modernization (ERAM) system finally replaced the Host computer system to manage traffic at all US area control centres in April – after nearly five years of delays and USD$370 million in cost overruns.

ERAM is now the backbone of operations at 20 of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) centres, driving display screens used by air traffic controllers to manage and separate aircraft.

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ROPS capability now across Airbus fleet Mon, 20 Jul 2015 08:37:14 +0000 More ››]]>

Airbus has achieved EASA certification of its Runway Overrun Prevention System (ROPS) technology on A330 Family aircraft.

This onboard cockpit technology, which Airbus has pioneered over several years, is now certified and available on all Airbus Families. ROPS is an alerting system which reduces exposure to runway overrun risk, and if necessary, provides active protection.

Korean Air will become the first A330 operator to implement ROPS on its A330s in service in the coming months.

This EASA certification of ROPS on the A330 marks a key milestone in making ROPS available for line-fit and retrofit to all Airbus models. ROPS was first approved by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) on the A380 in October 2009 and to date is currently in service or ordered on most of the A380 fleet. ROPS is also part of the A350 XWB’s basic configuration, and in August 2013 was also certified for the A320 Family.

“Already in service on the A380, A350 and A320 Families, ROPS is the result of years of continuing research by Airbus,” said Didier Lux, Airbus’ SVP head of customer services. He adds: “This EASA certification for ROPS on the A330 Family is an example where innovative technology and services meet for the benefit of operators and aviation safety, and is thus an important step to offering the enhanced operational benefits across all our aircraft.”

Runway excursion – meaning either an aircraft veering off the side of the runway, or overrunning at the very end – remains the primary cause of civil airliner hull losses, particularly as other formerly prevalent categories of aircraft accidents have now largely been eliminated. Furthermore, various industry bodies including the EASA, NTSB, Eurocontrol and FAA recognize this and are fully behind the introduction of effective measures by commercial aviation stakeholders to eliminate the risk of runway excursions.

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‘Four eyes’ to be norm: Germanwings taskforce Fri, 17 Jul 2015 10:05:40 +0000 More ››]]> A taskforce set up by European aviation safety regulators has urged Brussels to make a temporary rule on having two people in the cockpit at all times permanent for at least the next 12 months following the Germanwings murder-suicide on 24 March.

This is one of a raft of recommendations which includes calls for all trainee airline pilots to undergo psychological screening and details of medical visits by all qualified pilots to be shared in a future European database. Pilots could also be subject to random drug and alcohol tests while doctors responsible for their regular medical checks could be far more closely regulated.

The calls come after European transport commissioner Violeta Bulc asked the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to set up a taskforce made up of senior safety and medical staff drawn from both industry and the European regulatory community to develop recommendations based largely on the findings of the preliminary investigation report into the Germanwing tragedy.

That found that the pilot deliberately crashed the A320 in the French Alps killing all on board and highlighted areas which should be looked at in depth in order to help prevent the recurrence of such a tragedy. These areas included the cockpit door locking system and cockpit access and exit procedures, as well as the medical monitoring of pilots.

Further taskforce recommendations are:

  • Pilots should undergo a psychological evaluation before entering airline service.
  • Airlines should run a random drugs and alcohol programme.
  • A robust programme for oversight of aeromedical examiners should be established.
  • A European aeromedical data repository should be created.
  • Pilot support systems should be implemented within airlines.

The Commission said it would now review the recommendations, taking into account advice received from other sources such as the independent accident investigation  and that where legislative action is to be taken, EASA will be requested to develop concrete proposals.

At a June US-European safety summit EASA chief Patrick Ky said one of the areas on which the agency was focusing was the wide disparity in mental health screening between pilot training schools which ranged from between two days of comprehensive psychological assessment to a minimal process.

“EASA is looking at making sure that there has been, at some stage, a psychological evaluation of any commercial pilot,” Ky said, who added that one issue would be to determine whose responsibility that should be, the airline, or training school.

Meanwhile in the United States, FAA safety chief Peggy Gilligan told the same summit that regulators there want to develop more effective ways in which pilots could come forward with depression or other mental disabilities rather than hide them.

“We don’t want to drive pilots underground,” Gilligan said, but provide them with a way back to the cockpit following successful treatment. “For a pilot who “has no path back” to possibly resuming flying duties,” she said, “then “I have no incentive to let you know” about mental health issues.”

These efforts to study the emotional and mental health of US commercial pilots will be a joint effort with industry representatives as part of a Pilot Fitness Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC), which is due to report its findings by the end of the year.


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CACI adds Rockshore as new business Thu, 16 Jul 2015 10:25:42 +0000 More ››]]> IT and telecoms consultancy CACI has acquired real time airport information specialist Rockshore which will now join its information and management systems division as a new business unit.

Jon Slinn, chief executive of Rockshore commented:  “Joining CACI is the perfect continuation of a ten year journey of building Rockshore from an idea to an acquisition. CACI is one of the foremost data and telecoms companies in the UK and will be a great fit for us. I am really proud of what the entire team has achieved and I look forward to continuing to build the business as part of the CACI family.”

Greg Bradford, chief executive of CACI added: “Acquiring Rockshore further extends the range of services CACI offers and gives us access to new products, clients and sectors. Rockshore’s expertise and track record of crafting accessible real-time information is a welcome addition to the team. It further boosts our growth strategy for the telco sector, which is now our largest sector across the company.”


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OPINION: Jason Harfield Tue, 14 Jul 2015 10:30:55 +0000 More ››]]> jhAirservices Australia’s executive general manager Jason Harfield explains why the nav services business model will be upended

Are air navigation service provider (ANSP) business models losing relevance? As management of global air traffic continues its evolution towards collaborative information-based services and becomes increasingly less dependent on ground-based infrastructure, will ANSPs become irrelevant?

ANSPs must adapt and at the same time evolve their value proposition to remain relevant. This isn’t negotiable, and a response to this shift towards collaborative information-based services is critical for survival. It’s no different to other industries, when a lack of response to a changing paradigm results in critical market players becoming irrelevant or even disappearing.

It’s accepted that there’s a limit to efficiency without a harmonised and collaborative focus. The components that make up the ATM system such as airports, airlines, the military, other airspace users, suppliers and ANSPs, recognise they must all work in a more cooperative and collaborative way to effectively and efficiently manage the overall system.

The adoption of operating concepts, such as Collaborative Decision Making (CDM), which are accelerating the shift, is assisting the overall ATM System to safely, effectively and efficiently manage air traffic growth in an increasingly capacity constrained operating environment. At the same time network management and decision making is becoming more distributed in an effort to communicate the right information, at the right time, for each decision maker to achieve the optimal outcome for their business or mission.

This means that the current path of ATM can no longer just be about operating and being managed as a network – it must further diversify to operate and be managed as a ‘network of networks’.

A comparison with another ‘network of networks’ – the Internet — suggests that an ANSP could effectively become just another node on the network. The ANSP will no longer be the sole source of pertinent mission-critical information, and this information could be accessed, collected and distributed from other nodes or from a multiplicity of nodes. Conceptually, will there still be a requirement for a “one-stop-shop” provider?

Take trans-Flight Information Region (FIR) CDM programs for example, where there’s the transmission of information directly to an airline (or aircraft) to manage ground delay programs into an airport. The airline/aircraft is operating from an airport in another FIR and the ANSP of the destination FIR is managing a ground delay program by directly bypassing the ANSP of origin! In this situation the ANSP is no longer part of the flow management service chain!

Competing companies are already combining to take advantage. And while perhaps not able to operate in a traditional ATM third-party service model (in this space they have to be suppliers), in a ‘network-of-networks’ environment, they can add value directly to airspace users and compete effectively in the provision of information supply and distribution services. A tempting cost-effective alternative when these companies are not constrained by the expectation to provide a full suite of services, nor constrained by the legacy ANSP infrastructure and cost base!

So are there any uncertainties clouding this evolving operating environment? In my opinion there’s two – one technological the other strategic. The technological uncertainty is opaqueness of what technology standard, product or configuration will ultimately provide the most effective service. The strategic uncertainty is similar but broader, as there will be a variety of strategic approaches being pursued by industry participants. These uncertainties are primarily driven by poor information or blindness to the attributes and needs of customers, potential competitors and industry conditions. This can be seen by various ANSPs continuing to focus on sovereignty and service models restricted to geographic constraints rather than service models based on the whole of flight and globalism.

The characteristics of this operating environment can be summed up as an emerging air traffic management industry rather than a mature air traffic control industry. Legacy service provision is analogous to services offered by a declining industry.

In this emerging industry, the term customer is not limited to the airlines and other airspace users, but also expands to all ATM industry participants. That is, any participant that’s a node in this ‘network of networks’ has the potential to be a customer (as well as a competitor)!

In successfully navigating this emerging operating paradigm and remaining relevant, an ANSP will need to evolve from simply providing traditional ATC services to become a provider of competitively agile network information services.

But imagine the relevance of an ANSP if it can respond and then exploit this emerging operating paradigm and maintain an already established monopolistic market share! This article first appeared in Aviation Week.

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