Air Traffic Management STRATEGY, TECHNOLOGY AND MANAGEMENT FOR THE WORLD'S MOST GLOBAL INDUSTRY Fri, 03 Jul 2015 07:57:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Airservices makes history with Air Force Heron Fri, 03 Jul 2015 07:57:40 +0000 More ››]]>

Airservices Australia last week made civil aviation history when for the first time its air traffic controllers safely guided a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) remotely-operated aircraft through civilian airspace ahead of next week’s Exercise Talisman Sabre.

The Heron Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) took off from Rockhampton Airport on 24 June after air traffic controllers in the control tower gave the aircraft taxi instructions and a take-off clearance from the airport’s Runway 15.

Shortly after its departure, the air traffic control of the Heron was safely transferred over to en route controllers located at Brisbane Airport for onwards clearances into the Shoalwater Bay military restricted airspace for the exercise.

TUT1I4QCHTWD-676x1000“Controlling the Heron in our airspace is a clear demonstration of the importance of harmonising the diverse airspace and capability needs of Air Force while maintaining the safety and efficiency of civilian operations,” said Airservices executive general manager, air traffic control, Greg Hood.

“We look forward to continuing to work collaboratively with Defence on the use of this type of technology safely in Australian airspace, particularly as we work with Defence to roll out a new, jointly procured and operated air traffic management system.”

Planning for the Heron’s operations in civilian airspace began in 2013 and included close collaboration with Defence and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

Airservices signed a Memorandum of Agreement with Air Force on 29 May during a ceremony in Canberra which provided the authority for the Heron to be managed by civilian air traffic controllers.

Airservices will continue to provide air traffic services for the Heron’s operations throughout Exercise Talisman Sabre which runs until mid-July.

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Harris undergoes post-Exelis reshuffle Thu, 02 Jul 2015 13:39:36 +0000 More ››]]> Harris is to reorganise its business to boost efficiency and exploit synergies following its recent acquisition of Exelis.

“We combined Harris’ and Exelis’ top talent and technology to create four market-focused segments aligned with Harris’ strategic growth platforms,” said William M. Brown, chairman, president and chief executive officer. “Our new structure will help us improve our competitive position, increase efficiency, and capture synergies, while we continue to bring innovative and affordable solutions to our customers.”

From July 4, the company will be organised in the following four business segments:

  • Communication Systems, led by Chris Young. The segment will serve markets in tactical and airborne radios, night vision technology, and defense and public safety networks.
  • Critical Networks, led by Carl D’Alessandro. The segment will provide managed services supporting air traffic management, energy and maritime communications, and ground network operation and sustainment, as well as high-value IT and engineering services.
  • Electronic Systems, led by Ed Zoiss. The segment will offer an extensive portfolio of solutions in electronic warfare, avionics, wireless technology, C4I, undersea systems and aerostructures.
  • Space and Intelligence Systems, led by Bill Gattle. The segment will provide complete earth observation, weather, geospatial, space protection, and intelligence solutions from advanced sensors and payloads, as well as ground processing and information analytics.

In addition, Sheldon Fox has been named senior vice president, integration and engineering for the company. Fox, formerly president of Harris’ Government Communications Systems segment, has been leading the acquisition integration effort. Also, Dana Mehnert, formerly president of Harris’ RF Communications segment, has been named senior vice president, chief global business development officer. Mehnert will have responsibility for driving topline growth, leveraging complementary channels, and capturing large multi-year opportunities. Both of these positions will report to Brown.


”Our new leadership team has extensive industry experience, a proven track record and a deep commitment to meeting customer expectations,” Brown added.

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Avinor implements new North Atlantic system Thu, 02 Jul 2015 12:56:17 +0000 More ››]]> Norway’s Avinor has deployed a new air traffic management system to handle increasing en route traffic in the North Atlantic.

Avinor has experienced a strong growth in en-route traffic, both in Norwegian airspace and in the NAT region. For the last three years alone, traffic has increased with around 20 per cent.

The new system is scalable and tailor-made to handle air traffic services in oceanic areas and can now provide customers in the NAT region new and improved services, compliant with NAT-region requirements and EU Implementing Rules.

It also allows a high level of automation in the communications between flight crews and air traffic controllers with datalink services, such as Controller Pilot Datalink Communication (CPDLC), Oceanic Clearance (OCL) and Automatic Dependent Surveillance Contract (ADS-C). Interaction between neighbouring sectors, such as Iceland, will also be automated via online data interchange (OLDI).

The new system is also highly scalable to meet future operational requirements and features functionality to support SESAR initiatives.

The system is provided by Adacel whose chief executive Seth Brown said: “We are very pleased to provide this new system to Avinor and to support them as they commission it into operational service. Norway becomes the latest country to use our Aurora ATM technology which is in operation today in oceanic airspaces controlled by Fiji, France, Iceland, New Zealand, Portugal and the United States. We look forward to a long and successful relationship with Avinor”

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EASA issues foreign airline safety ‘passports’ Thu, 02 Jul 2015 11:41:11 +0000 More ››]]>

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has issued the first single air safety authorisations to 22 third country operators which will be valid throughout the European Union.

By 2016, all non-EU airlines wishing to fly to the EU will be required to hold such authorisation certifying their compliance with international safety standards. The objective of this new scheme is two-fold: cutting red-tape by replacing today’s maze of national authorisations with a single document and maintaining high level of aviation safety in Europe. EASA will be the “one-stop shop”, delivering the authorisation to airlines.

EU commissioner for transport Violeta Bulc said: “The new safety authorisation scheme has a clear European added value. It will take the safety of Europeans one step further by ensuring that third country operators flying to Europe match the highest safety standards, comparable to those the EU requires from European carriers. The “one-stop-shop” approach means cutting red-tape and reducing administrative costs for airlines.”

EASA’s executive director Patrick Ky added: “This new system further increases the safety standards that passengers expect. A total of 700 foreign air carriers from more than 100 countries have already applied to be authorised to fly in the European Union.”

These 22 authorisations were signed by the EASA chief during a ceremony held today at Brussels airport, in the presence of commissioner Bulc. By November 2016, all third country operators, regardless of whether they already fly to the EU, will be required to hold such authorisation. This new system complements the two existing EU-wide tools to prevent unsafe airlines from operating in the EU: the air safety list, which was updated on 25 June, and the system for aircraft ramp inspections SAFA (Safety Assessment of Foreign Aircraft).

The new authorisation system does not apply to EU airlines, which are still subject to safety oversight and certification by national aviation authorities.

The Third Country Operators (TCO) authorisation is provided by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and confirms EU-wide compliance with international safety standards. The authorisation is therefore valid throughout the EU.

TCO safety authorisations are provided by EASA under the mandate of a European Commission Regulation known as PART TCO adopted by the Commission on 29 April 2014. This marked the beginning a of a formal single EU-wide safety assessment process for foreign airlines that wish to fly to the EU. EASA manages the assessment process on behalf of the European Commission.

Obtaining such an EU-wide safety authorisation will become a prerequisite for obtaining an operating permit in each Member State. EASA is perfectly well placed to carry out the required safety assessment and subsequent monitoring of TCOs.

PART TCO complements the existing EU Air Safety List Regulation as well as the SAFA Programme (Safety Assessment of Foreign Aircraft).

For Airlines registered in the EU certification and safety oversight is conducted by the National Aviation Authorities on the basis of EASA standards. In addition EU wide safety inspections are conducted under the Safety Assessment of Community Aircraft (SACA) programme.

Additional authorisations will be signed in the coming months. All will be published on EASA’s website.

List of foreign airlines receiving TCO authorisations:

14 OMAN AIR (S.A.O.C.)


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French air traffic control strike called off Wed, 01 Jul 2015 19:12:26 +0000 More ››]]> Eurocontrol, Europe’s Network Manager is reporting that the French air traffic controller strike action between July 2-4 has been called off.

SNCTA, the largest controller union, also confirmed it had lifted the threat following a final round of talks.

On June 30, Alain Vialies, France’s transport secretary, said negotiaions had foundered on the unions’ rejection of €2,500 bonus payment paid over 10 months for each SNCTA member for transitioning to new working practices.

At the time Vidalies said he deplored the action which would have a serious impact on both the French and European air transport network as well as causing severe disruption as people started their summer break.

Read Why are the controllers threatening to strike?


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London Heathrow gets third runway green light Wed, 01 Jul 2015 07:37:02 +0000 More ››]]>

2A21C1CB00000578-3145475-image-a-37_1435733479008The UK Airports Commission today recommended that London Heathrow gets a third runway to help solve the nation’s capacity crunch.

Welcoming the decision, Heathrow airport chiefs pledged to work the government to make it happen, praising the Airports Commission for recognising that the benefits of a third runway at Heathrow are “significantly greater, for business passengers, freight operators and the broader economy” than the downsides.

Heathrow said the Commission’s findings accept the unique role that it plays as Britain’s only hub airport and that its expansion is the only solution that can help British businesses compete for global growth, and support a truly national recovery built on exports, skills and investment.

The Commission also reckons Heathrow’s new plan can be delivered while reducing its local and environmental impacts, confirming that it can be delivered within carbon and air quality limits and with significantly fewer people impacted by aircraft noise than today.

John Holland-Kaye, chief executive of Heathrow Airport said: “This debate has never been about a runway, it’s been about the future we want for Britain. Expanding Heathrow will keep Britain as one of the world’s great trading nations, right at the heart of the global economy.

“Our new plans have been designed around the needs of local communities and will meet carbon, air quality and noise targets, and provides the greatest benefit to the UK’s connectivity and its long term economic growth.

“We will create the world’s best connected, most efficient and most environmentally responsible hub airport at the heart of an integrated transport system. The Commission has backed a positive and ambitious vision for Britain.

The Commission has urged the government to make an early decision on its recommendations, warning that “further delay will be increasingly costly and will be seen, nationally and internationally, as a sign that the UK is unwilling or unable to take the steps needed to maintain its position as a well-connected open trading economy in the twenty first century.”


FRONTRUNNER: Heathrow Airport Northwest Runway The Commission has concluded that the proposal for a new Northwest Runway at Heathrow Airport, in combination with a significant package of measures to address its environmental and community impacts, presents the strongest case. The scheme proposed by Heathrow Airport is for a new full length runway (3,500m) to the north west of the current northern runway at Heathrow. This proposal differs very significantly from that supported by the government before 2010. It provides a full-length runway, maximizing the potential to improve capacity, connectivity and resilience, and it is sited further to the west, which has the benefit of reducing its noise and wider community impacts. The horizontal separation between the new runway and the current northern runway is 1,045m, allowing it to operate independently of existing runways. When the proposed alternation pattern is factored in this would allow a forecast operating capacity of 740,000 air transport movements per year and would offer a level of continuing respite for local communities while enhancing the airport’s resilience.


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Eleventh-hour French ATC strike talks fail Tue, 30 Jun 2015 21:55:44 +0000 More ››]]> UPDATE: French air traffic control strike called off

Talks between the French Government and air traffic controller unions to head off strike action between July 2-4 have failed after 25 hours of negotiations.

In a statement Alain Vialies, France’s transport secretary, said negotiaions had foundered on the unions’ rejection of €2,500 bonus payment paid over 10 months for each of their members for transitioning to new working practices.

Vidalies said he deplored the action which woud have a serious impact on both the French and European air transport network as well as causing severe disruption as people started their summer break.





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Euro MPs call for action on tracking technology Tue, 30 Jun 2015 15:37:23 +0000 More ››]]> Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from across the political spectrum today called for action by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) on technology that supports global flight tracking and air navigation.

At a symposium at the European Parliament, ‘Disappeared Aircraft in a Connected World: An Urgent Call to Action’, they asked European Union (EU) stakeholders to help guarantee that regulatory barriers to satellite-based flight tracking be lifted to enable life-saving services for EU citizens.  In a show of their conviction, the MEPs also launched a Resolution of the European Parliament to that effect.

“Given the limitations of aircraft tracking today, this technology is simply indispensable,” said Eamonn Brennan, chief executive of the Irish Aviation Authority, which has wide responsibility for air traffic management in the North Atlantic.

“Satellite ADS-B will greatly assist airlines, aviation authorities, air navigation service providers and search-and-rescue agencies during emergency situations. The ability to provide the location of aircraft with tremendous accuracy is precisely the kind of service being sought by the International Civil Aviation Organization, the International Air Transport Association, airlines and other aviation bodies.”

Recalling the recent tragedies of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 and Air France Flight 447, Antonio Tajani and David-Maria Sassoli, vice-presidents of the European Parliament, highlighted the vulnerability of current aircraft surveillance systems that has hampered swift location of aircraft in distress, a shortcoming that has significantly hindered relief operations, and led to calls for action by the international community.

Representatives of the Parliament, Commission, European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), EUROCONTROL, and various national air navigation service providers agreed on the imperative for action during the symposium, and underlined the critical role of satellite communication technologies for safer aviation services across the world.

The maturing of satellite-supported tracking solutions coincides with the aviation industry’s need to show progress on safety, and provides a unique opportunity for action.

But unless an ITU treaty-making conference in Geneva in November guarantees the radio spectrum to support these satellite services, their launch could be unnecessarily delayed to the detriment of air traffic control and the travelling public worldwide.

Vice-presidents Tajani and Sassoli, and Rapporteur of the Single European Sky II+ Marian-Jean Marinescu MEP, therefore called upon their colleagues in the Parliament to ensure that the EU institutions and Member States support the necessary spectrum allocation in Geneva this November. “We need to adopt regulation and rules to benefit society, and as expeditiously as possible” said Mr Marinescu, closing the symposium.

Read Existing Products, Services Meet ICAO’s Aircraft Tracking Requirement: AIN

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Fresh Spanish ATC strikes planned for July Tue, 30 Jun 2015 12:41:34 +0000 More ››]]> Spanish air traffic controller have called another series of strikes.

European travellers faced disruption throughout June when strikes on 8, 10, 12 and 14, were staged for two hours each morning and two hours each afternoon across the country.

Air traffic controllers, organised by the USCA union, continue to dispute penalties imposed by the country’s air navigation service provider following a wildcat strike in 2010 which saw military air traffic controllers drafted in to help.

USCA has now called for a four-day industrial action in July as follows:

11th July from 0800-1100 UTC
12th July from 1500-1800 UTC
25th July from 0800-1100 UTC
26th July  from 1500-1800 UTC

Negotiations are reported ongoing between the coutry’s air navigation service provider ENAIRE and USCA.

Read: Spanish controllers declare 4-day strike action

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SNCTA, FO hold firm on strike threat Tue, 30 Jun 2015 12:22:48 +0000 More ››]]> Affichage-Annule-150x150France’s largest air traffic controller union SNCTA together with Force Ouvrière (FO) insist they will strike over the July 2-4 period in protest at cost-cutting to meet Single European Sky targets.

Update Eleventh-hour French ATC strike talks fail

Last year SNCTA cancelled a similar threat of industrial action over this issue after support was secured at governmental level for a review of the huge cost savings Brussels expects its air traffic control agency to make.

At the time, SNCTA said that only a radical re-evaluation of the proposed reduction in the level of charges imposed on airspace users  ‘would allow the country to finance its strategic plan to modernise its ATM systems and begin de-leveraging the French civil aviation authority’.

How does European aviation cope with strike action? Listen to Europe’s Network Manager liaising with airlines to manage the planned disruption on July 2

In its latest notice – or préavis – SNCTA said the air transport sector was witnessing significant growth in Europe and especially in France.

“This must lead to an accelerated update of our navigation systems and an adjustment in our workforce in order to answer the known needs or meet the new regulation requirements when they are a matter of staff skills.”

“This situation should make the civil aviation authority respond to those challenges by commanding public authority approval. Taking into account its domain and its budget, the French CAA should be ring-fenced. Despite that, we have witnessed, for months and even years now, political decisions based on choices or orientations of the European Commission. These options lead directly to technical means and workforce restrictions.”

“While we should improve the workforce (which represents the main ‘capital’ for civil aviation and especially air navigation services), growing concern and a loss of motivation have arisen from the chosen policies. This sentiment has not been seen for decades.”

Among the union’s demands are:

  • An increase in the en-route facility charges in compliance with commitments the French transport ministry made in June 22,  2014. This must be confirmed July 2 2015 when France delivers its performance plan to the Commission.
  • An accurate examination of qualified air traffic controller needs starting 2020 and the development of an adequate recruitment policy.
  • compensation for additional work in order to anticipate staff shortages and  inappropriate management of the workforce.

This will be the second walkout by French controllers this year. In April, SNCTA lifted its threat to strike twice within one month, claiming it had been satisfied with the outcome of a April 13 meeting with the DGAC, although warned of possible setbacks over ongoing negotiations over working conditions.

DSNA – the country’s air traffic control service provider – had been forced to order airlines to cut the number of flights by 40 per cent on April 8 and then 50 per cent the next day. According to SNCTA, some 46 per cent of the controllers walked out during the period.

Those negotiations centred on SNCTA demands for controller-related aspects negotiated at controller level, rather than being rolled into other categories of DGAC personnel.

“The members we represent intend to make ( their dissatisfaction) public by ceasing work until their expectations are taken into account, ” said SNCTA which added that it was available for conciliation talks..

Two additional unions, Unsa and CGT, have since called off plans for a strike which would have extended industrial action to hit travellers on June 30-July 1 following talks with the government.

DSNA in a notice to airlines said a minimum service would be assured and that updates would be posted on the day preceding the strike action.


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