Bosnia and Herzegovina improves airspace communications with Frequentis Comsoft

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The Directorate of Civil Aviation for Bosnia and Herzegovina (BHDCA) has introduced an Air Traffic Services Message Handling System (AMHS) from Frequentis Comsoft to replace the Aeronautical Fixed Telecommunications Network (AFTN) and enhance aviation communication within its airspace.

The AMHS system enables all types of ground-to-ground aeronautical messages such as flight plans, meteorological messages and NOTAM messages to be sent and received in accordance with the standards and recommended practices of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

Commenting on the collaboration with BHDCA, Thomas Hoffmann, Frequentis Comsoft Managing Director, said: “All three sites (Sarajevo, Banja Luka, Mostar) now have technically identical systems after the system upgrade, which can be mutually supervised and operated. If required, the operational service can, once initiated, be automatically moved to the system at the contingency site in approximately 15 minutes, including the complete data history. We look forward to working together on future projects.”

BHDCA’s system consists of a location-independent, redundant operating system (OPS), contingency system (CONT) and a training and testing system (TRAINING/ TEST) and has been successfully operational since May 2020. The AMHS system is a communication system that represents a central point of access to international AMHS networks and data, linking user terminals of operational services and units of BHDCA into the world exchange of data and information.

During the implementation of AMHS into the operational use, an air navigation system safety assessment was also conducted by BHDCA.

“With BHDCA changing from AFTN to AMHS the ATM world becomes more modern, reliable and secure,” explained Vaclav Sourek, Frequentis Comsoft Sales and Marketing Director. He underlined that, “Frequentis Comsoft’s excellent track record with 65 AMHS customers worldwide proves that our clients are pleased with our AMHS system quality, which is our priority.”

Kongsberg Remote tower at Menorca

Menorca Airport advances plans for remote tower system

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Kongsberg Remote tower at Menorca

Spain’s Menorca Airport is turning to a remote tower system for its air traffic control (ATC). Alongside Gesnaer Consulting and Avinor Air Navigation Services, Kongsberg has been selected to provide the advanced Remote Tower System.

The unique design of Kongsberg’s Electro-Optical Sensor Suite features a rotating platform housing a visual and infrased 360° daylight and infrared cameras as well as  pan-tilt camera platform with a visual zoom camera, an infrared camera, a laser range finder and a signalling light. Air traffic controllers are then able to view the digital out the window view on high resolution monitors.

One of the major benefits of remote tower technology is that the system can be extended to control multiple airports from the same control centre. Kongsberg and Avinor Air Navigation Services are already working together on the Ninox programme, which includes 15 different airports that will all be operated from a new control centre located in Bodø, Norway (pictured right).

“Remote control of air traffic brings new capabilities to air traffic operations, enabling safe operations at reduced costs,” said Kjetil Reiten Myhra, Executive VP Kongsberg Defence and Aerospace AS. “This is achieved by the combination of high-end technology and proven safe operation procedures and concepts. Kongsberg is proud to deliver our world class solution to Menorca Airport and AENA together with the industry team.”

The system is expected to be delivered in 2021 with Gesnaer Consulting responsible for implementing and executing the project on behalf of Spanish airport operator, AENA.

CANSO reaffirms commitment to ATM recovery during virtual AGM

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During its 24th Annual General Meeting (AGM), which was held virtually on Friday 16 October, the Civil Air Navigation Services Organiser (CANSO) launched a new advocacy priority to help the industry navigate the current aviation crisis. The commitment is to provide the policy and framework guidance to ensure the air traffic management (ATM) industry emerges from the current pandemic stronger and more resilient then before.

“It has been a challenging year for us all and it is encouraging to see such a commitment to CANSO and the industry,” said Simon Hocquard, Director General of CANSO. “Our members have come together and agreed to focus on measures that will help the industry navigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, alongside our overall objective of transforming ATM. This is an important step as we redefine our future and the approach we need to take.”

CANSO’s AGM also saw the announcement of the new Executive Committee Chair, Captain Gilbert Macharia Kibe, who currently serves as Director General of Kenya Civil Aviation Authority.

Meanwhile on 19 October the Chair Teams of the CANSO European Safety Directors Group (CESAF) and the EUROCONTROL Safety Team signed a cooperation agreement which will comprise various types of activities, including: exchange of safety-related information; sharing expertise and best practice; cross-participation in working groups; and coordinating engagement with regulatory and legislative authorities, vendors and media.

Swiss ANSP partners with Rohde & Schwarz for future voice communications systems

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Skyguide, the Swiss air navigation service provider (ANSP) has selected Rohde & Schwarz CERTIUM voice communication system (VCS) to rationalise its voice communications architecture and meet future air traffic control (ATC) operations requirements.

The new VCS will be implemented under the umbrella of the skyC@T project and will be a Swiss-wide solution. Depending on the options, it will replace four to seven legacy VCS.

Described as the ‘perfect match’ for Skyguide’s demanding requirements CERIUM VCS-4G provides native VoIP services through a Swiss-wide redundant VCS. The system simplifies and rationalises the overall voice communications architecture, making use of state-of-the-art technologies, including virtualised applications and service-oriented infrastructures with country wide distribution of system components. It can also be seamlessly integrated into Skyguide’s existing communications environment.

We selected CERTIUM VCS for skyC@T, due to its capacity and cost effectiveness. It allows us to redesign the overall VCS architecture and to align it with the latest industry standards and technologies.

Stephan Meister, Skyguide’s Head of Communication, Navigation and Surveillance.

Heinz School, Managing Director of Roschi Rohde & Schwarz AG added: “Our team is very proud to have been selected by Skyguide with its worldwide reputation for best practices in ATC. With our strong local expertise in the implementation of demanding projects and value-based systems maintenance, we see ourselves as a long-term partner to Skyguide, jointly building and supporting Skyguide’s new and future-proof VCS backbone.”

Header image:  Rohde & Schwarz CERTIUM VCS selected by Skyguide for skyC@T

The ATM industry looks towards a digital European sky

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The Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO) has welcomed the European Commission’s proposal on the Single European Sky (SESII+) as an opportunity to realise a more digital European air traffic management (ATM) sector.

The proposal addresses issues such as the role of the Network Manager, liberalisation of the market for air traffic data services, submission of performance plans under the Performance and Charging Scheme, modulation of air navigation charges, a new regulator role for the Performance Review Body, and fair pricing for information services for U-Space and drones. According to CANSO a reformed legislative framework will help air navigation services providers (ANSPs) to provide the increased capacity and scalability required by customers and airspace users in the future. It will also offer more environmentally efficient flight trajectories.

“While safety will always remain our number one priority,” said Tanja Grobotek, CANSO’s Director Europe Affairs, “CANSO’s vision is of an ATM industry that is customer-focused, market-driven, anticipative and responsive in addressing future challenges such as traffic growth and sustainability. with this proposal, we hope we can work with the EU institutions and other aviation stakeholders towards the best possible framework to help us achieve this ambition.”

Micro Nav delivers ATC simulator for Air Navigation and Weather Services in Taiwan

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Contracted by Saab, Micro Nav has delivered a 360° 3D air traffic control (ATC) simulator to Taiwan Air Navigation and Weather Services (ANWS). It includes full integration with the Saab Integrated ATC suite (I-ATS) operational system. The 360° 3D tower solution includes Micro Nav’s Automatic Display Alignment System (ADAS), which aligns the projected display automatically, removing the need for third parties or specialist staff.

The new simulator was required to support the movement of ATC operations from the old Taiwan Taoyuan Airport tower, to the new tower. The solution also provides the capability to perform ATCO training on the Saab I-ATS Controller Working Positions, while presenting the simulated out-the-window tower view.

Since installation, the simulator has already proven to be invaluable, enabling us to familiarise our ATC trainees with procedures and the operational environment easily and swiftly, and strengthen our operational ATCOs’ ability and response in handling various scenarios including adverse weather and emergency situations. We also utilise the simulator as a means to assess, evaluate and refine operational procedures before implementation.

Chen Wen-Te, Chief of Taipei Tower at ANWS, Taiwan.

Micro Nav’s Beginning to End for Simulation and Training (BEST) software provides simulated traffic, while enabling pseudo pilots to control aircraft and vehicles. The delivered products include BEST Tower, BEST 3D, BEST Link and BEST 3D Create to enable ANWS staff to create and update their own airfields.

Commenting on the project, Richard Bonner, Operations Director at Micro Nav, said: “It was an absolute pleasure to work with ANWS and Saab on this project. The level of collaboration and professionalism throughout was fantastic.”

CANSO partners with Micro Nav to support ANSPs

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The Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO) has partnered with Micro Nav to support CANSO’s air navigation service providers (ANSPs) members as air traffic services prepare to resume. The prolonged lack of air traffic as a result of COVID-19  has led to a number of challenges, including the provision of training.

The partnership sees Micro Nav making the full capabilities of their air traffic control (ATC) radar and tower simulator available as a cloud-based tool to CANSO members to help air traffic controllers maintain their services.

CANSO’s Director General, Simon Hocquard believes the partnership will provide significant value to its members and will enable them to be as prepared as possible for the restart and recovery. “The partnership is another great example of organisations collaborating to safeguard the resiliency of our industry and to build a better future together,” he said.

The BEST ATC simulation platform will be available to member ANSPs until the end of November 2020, along with associated online training and technical support, to enable users to maximise the benefit of this tool for their recovery.

“Our vision, to make a positive difference to the world through simulation, has never been so appropriate as during these times,” said Micro Nav’s Managing Director, Greg Pile.

ANSPs implement measures to address financial crisis

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Data collected by the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO) shows that air navigation service providers (ANSPs) across Europe have taken extraordinary measures to reduce their costs in light of the COVID-19 crisis.

Traffic is at a mere 15% of what they were this time last year and subsequently ANSPs have had to contend with a dramatic decline in revenues. The situation has been compounded in Europe by the deferral of ATC charges by the airlines, despite the need for ANSPs to provide a full service so that the skies remain open and safe.

Emergency measures including a reduction in staff costs of 11% on average and a 25% cut to executive pay salaries have been introduce by ANSPs to tackle their revenue shortfall. In nations where it’s possible about 20% of staff have been furloughed for either a portion of their work time or a defined period of time. Negotiations in many ANSPs are underway with staff representatives to introduce further measures.

“There is a misconception that ANSPs enjoy a financially protected position but this simply not the case,” said CANSO’s Director European Affairs, Tanja Grobotek. “Just like everyone in the industry they are having to reduce their costs. The measures available to do that vary from State to State primarily because of different employment law and labour relations. Also, the infrastructure investments of European ANSPs are at different stages of implementation, so while some can be deferred, in other cases deferrals would create more costs than savings.”

CANSO’s data also shows that ANSP’s have turned to their investment profiles for savings, cutting about 25% in CAPEX costs. This includes postponing or cancelling non-vital projects while maintaining priority and ongoing investments.

Warning that it’s important to note that the measures being taken by its members are being implemented to deal with the immediate situation rather than as long-term solutions, Grobotek added: “We have learned from previous crises the danger of making deep cuts now which could come back to haunt us as capacity crunches and flight delays when traffic levels return to normal. And so as well as dealing with the immediate challenges, we must keep an eye to the future.”

ROMATSA extends partnership with Rohde & Schwarz

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The Romanian air navigation service provider ROMATSA has upgraded the voice communications system (VCS) at Bucharest Otopeni Airport in Romania with the latest version of CERTIUM VCS-4G from Rohde & Schwarz.

The airport’s current VCS system has been in operation since the late 2000s and was the first fully IP VCS used in an ATC Tower. The upgrade, which will be applied to both the operational and simulator systems, will preserve legacy line connections, improve operational capabilities and increase safety thanks to a fully ED-137B compliant VCS and a fully distributed non-blocking architecture with 17 standard and 11 compact controller working positions (CWP).

“We are pleased to continue our collaboration with the Rohde & Schwarz Center of Competence for VDS as an innovative and reliable partner,” said Cosmin Dumitrescu, Technical Director, ROMATSA. “We are receiving proven, state-of-the-art technology in a highly advanced system solution, designed to meet next generation ATC communications requirements.”

Poznań welcomes aviation innovation hub

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The Polish Air Navigations Services Agency (PANSA) has officially opened its air traffic control (ATC) centre in the vicinity of Poznań-Ławica Airport. The facility is capable of managing all air traffic in Polish airspace. It also marks the first of PANSA’s investments in infrastructure for the Central Communication/ Transport Port (CPK) – a project which includes the construction of a new airport to replace Warsaw Chopin Airport. The new Solidarność Airport will be able  to accommodate up to 45 million passengers a year.

The  three-level, self-sufficient facility has been built on the site of an old radar tower with an investment of PLN 91.5 million. “Big investments start with smaller steps,” said Deptuy Minister of Infrastructure and Government Plenipotentiary for CPK, Marcin Horala. “The facility in Poznań is the first of PANSA’s investments in infrastructure, it is also a place where technologies used at all airports in Poland and, I hope, in the world will be developed,” Horala continued.

Polands Deputy Foreign Minister, Szymon Szynkowski aka Sęk, added: “Poland’s position on the global aviation market is getting stronger. This is not only due to more flights and destinations, but also to the development of the entire aviation sector. I am glad that thanks to this investment Poznań is becoming a bright spot on the map of technological aviation innovations.”

Covering almost 10,000 sqm the facility features two twin server rooms, has 50 sleeping capsules and can accommodate teams of controllers, technicians and programmers . It is equipped with two independent power supplies from the power grid and two power generators of 1.5 MW each, which could supply a medium-sized city with electricity, and is protected by the UPS systems with batteries. It also has a gas extinguishing system for ATC equipment, five heat pumps with a 240kW ground heat exchanger using 35 200m wells ensuring ecological and self-sufficient power supply as well as a car charging station and a bicycle room.

Alongside the The investment in the ATC centre is part of the overall construction plans for the CPK which will also feature a conventional tower, with remote technology using the new control centre in Poznań being used as an emergency solution. It is also hoped that Poznań’s ATC centre will also benefit all regional airports in Poland.