Hellenic CAA awards Thales contract to supply ground-based NAVAIDS infrastructure

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The Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has awarded Thales a contract to support the modernisation of the Greek civil aviation Navigation Aids infrastructure.

The Navigation Surveillance capabilities will ensure all-weather, en-route navigation and approach services and will significantly increase both safety and air traffic efficiency.

As physical devices on the ground Navigation Aids (NAVAIDS) assist pilots in defining the aircraft’s position during landing and take-off, as well as during flight to accurately navigate through the airspace.

The turnkey contract includes the supply of 10 Dopper VHF Omnidirectional Range (DVOR) and 13 Distance Measuring Equipment (DME), as well as six Instrument Landing Systems (ILS). The DVOR and DME are ground-based radio frequency and processing beacon systems that provide bearing and distance to the aircraft crew to verify the position and to navigate in the air space within the predefined routes and flights procedures in full situation awareness and safe conditions.  Meanwhile, the ILS is a ground-based radio frequency system, installed at the airport runway that generates an electromagnetic path for the pilots to follow during the critical landing manouevre. It increases safety and reliability and, as a result, enhances the efficiency of approach and landing procedure especially under poor weather and visibility conditions.

The agreement also comprises of the installation of instruments on 18 different sites across the country, from remote mountain peaks, to major hubs such as Athens International Airport.

“This award is a testament to the Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority’s renewed confidence in Thales as a partner to provide advanced ground-based air navigation systems. We are proud to support Greece’s initiative to provide an even safer and more efficient airspace for travellers,” said Christophe Salomon, Executive Vice President, Thales – Land & Air Systems.

Over 60% of the project will be carried out locally in collaboration with Greek industries, including Thales Hellas, highlighting the country’s technical expertise in delivering critical infrastructures.

The instruments will be run 24 hours a day, seven days a week, without any unpredicted service interruptions to ensure the safety of air travellers. These systems are fully designed and manufactured by Thales to ensure the highest level of precision, interoperability and reliability.

Seychelles CAA selects Adacel to deliver ATM System modernisation contract

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Adacel Technologies Limited, which provides air traffic management (ATM) services and air traffic control (ATC) simulation and training systems, has been awarded a contract by the Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority (SCAA) to modernise its ATM system.

The contract is valued at more than $3.6 million and encompasses a complete replacement of the current ATM system with Adacel’s Aurora ATM system and is expected to be delivered over a 24 month period.

“We are thrilled to welcome SCAA as our newest customer,” said Daniel Verret, Adacel’s CEO. “Our team looks forward to delivering on our commitments to modernise SCAA’s ATM system and implementing higher airspace efficiency,” he continued.

Adacel’s Aurora ATM integrates oceanic, approach and tower control capabilities and allows for optimal, fuel efficient routing. The Aurora system will improve service delivery by providing enhanced surveillance capabilities that incorporate both ground and space-based ADS-B as well as advanced ATM automation capabilities.

Expressing his enthusiasm for working with Adacel, SCAA CEO, Garry Albert, said: “In line with our plans to modernise our various infrastructures, SCAA is excited to see its ATM system advancing to the next level despite the delay incurred from the COVID-19 pandemic. Our team is looking forward to embark on this crucial journey with a prestigious company like Adacel. SCAAA is confident that Adacel will deliver on its promise for safe, reliable and efficient products and services.”

Treviso Airport activates ENAV’s radar surveillance system

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ENAV, which is responsible for air traffic management in Italy, has activated its radar surveillance system at Treviso – Antonio Canova Airport. The new service will help manage the volumes of traffic expected to arrive and depart from the airport and enhance the use of the airspace under the control tower’s responsibility, while maintaining safety and efficiency standards.

“ENAV’s people and our technological capacity have made it possible to implement a strategic service for the growth of Treviso Airport, which as of today further raises its operating standards,” said ENAV CEO, Paolo Simioni. “We are convinced that our commitment will bring benefits to the territory and to the whole induced activities,” he continued.

The Air Traffic Services (ATS) surveillance system will provide air traffic control (ATC) services at the airport, which will allow controllers in the tower to observe aircraft operating in the immediate vicinity of the airport in addition to using direct visual observation through radar screens. This implementation has been developed by a new integrated system that acquires the radar data of the Padua Area Control Centre, making available all the information regarding flight plans and radar surveillance.

Controllers employed at Treviso Airport have undergone specific training and are now qualified to to activate the radar surveillance system. The technological and technical aspects of the project were handled by Techno Sky, an ENAV Group company.

ANSL launches UK-first simulator-based ATC training programme

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Air Navigation Solutions (ANSL) has launched a ground-breaking Unit Training Programme that enables Air Traffic Control Officers (ATCOs) to utilise simulators as a key training tool throughout full unit training.

The launch marks the first On-the-Job Training (OJT) programme that uses simulators consistently throughout the entire Unit Training Plan (UTP) to be approved for use in the UK.

“The systematic use of simulators throughout the entire OJT not only provides highly effective training, but also improves predictability and reduces training times substantially,” noted Paul Diestelkamp, Head of Business Development and Solutions at ANSL.

Every ATCO needs to undergo unit training when arriving at a new airport.However the live operation at large hub airports does not present trainees with many opportunities to practise their basic skills during the initial phase of training due to consistently high traffic levels. Meanwhile, at less busy airports the lack of traffic can also hinder progress in the later stages of training.

By using the simulators under ANSL’s newly created Unit Validity Course (UVC) as part of the enhanced ITP, ATCOs can receive initial ‘light traffic’ training which can then easily be scaled as trainees acquire skills and experience in a controlled traffic environment. The UVC is a 14-week assessed classroom and simulator course which replaces the previous Level 1 training phase that was carried out in the live operation and it must be completed before ATCO trainees can move on to handling live traffic in the Visual Control Room (VCR).

The simulators also form a large part of the second and third phases of the new UTP. The advanced technology gives trainers the ability to generate any specific traffic scenario required at any given point in the training regardless of what he live environment is able to provide. In addition the simulation can also be paused to reflect and assess decisions during training, something that is obviously not possible with live traffic.

“Our state-of-the-art simulators ensure that trainees get to see and experience anything that cannot be delivered by the operation at that moment in time  – which could be anything from heavy traffic levels or weather phenomena to the complexities generated by long-term apron and manoeuvering area closures as seen during the pandemic,” said Nichola Ashcroft, Head of Training at ANSL.

ANSL’s first implementation of the UVC training course commenced in April at their Gatwick facility and it is now ready to support the implementation of similar UTPs elsewhere.



Colombian CAA partners with Rohde & Schwarz to enhance ATC communications at 36 airports

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The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) of Colombia (Aerocivil) has awarded Rohde & Schwarz a contract to deploy CERTIUM voice communication systems (VCS) at 36 airports. The agreement complements more than 1000 CERTIUM air traffic control (ATC) radios installed in more than 80 airports throughout the country.

All systems, which consist of compact IP based VCS equipment will all be delivered by the end of this year and will feature certified training, management and maintenance software.

CERTIUM VCS will be deployed in six main clusters, with each cluster covering several airports throughout a region. Centralised monitoring and managemetn is provided at each regional headquarter, via an Aerocivil wide area network. Uninterrupted power supplies (UPS) at each airport provide additional redundancy for each controller working position. In Colombia, air traffic safety, security and efficiency are kept in pace with current requirements.

“Rohde & Schwarz is proud to provide Aerocivil with the latest communications technology,” said Mauricio Samudio, General Manager, Rohde & Schwarz Colombia S.A.S. “We have a long lasting, successful relationship with our Colombian administration. This allows us to support Aerocivil’s digitalisation roadmap with solutions that allow them to continue safe operations and reliably meet future challenges. Covering the area from the Colombian Caribbean all the way to the Amazon rainforest, this contract is a milestone for ATC in the region.”

NAV CANADA takes necessary steps to support aviation industry recovery

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NAV CANADA has been closely monitoring air traffic forecasts and is taking the necessary steps to ensure it has appropriate staffing to support the aviation industry recovery. Off the back of this monitoring, the air navigation services provider has now cancelled surplus notices to 41 air traffic controllers in area control centres in Gander, Moncton, Montreal and Edmonton. These 41 controllers will now remain on the job to provide vital air navigation services.

“We are proactively taking this action to support our customers as they shift their focus to recovery,” said Ray Bohn, President and CEO of NAV CANADA. He added that, “NAV CANADA remains ready and able to ensure the continued safety of Canada’s airspace as demand for air navigation services grows.”

From the onset of the pandemic, NAV CANADA has been working to support safe operations. Its workforce planning processes include multiple sources of information, including air traffic forecasts, which are designed to ensure that operations have the required resources to safely manage traffic throughout the pandemic, industry recovery and beyond.

“NAV CANADA will play a pivotal role in the sector’s recovery and remains committed to protecting the safety of the travelling public now and in the future,” added Bohn.

Kiruna Airport introduces remote tower services

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Swedavia’s  northernmost air transport hub, Kiruna Airport, is the first of the Swedish airport operator’s airports to introduce remote tower services. Air traffic at the airport is now being managed from Stockholm Arlanda and the Swedish Civil Aviation Administration’s new remote tower centre.

The remote tower centre is located immediately adjacent to the administration’s air traffic control centre, from which much of the air traffic in Sweden is managed.

Swedavia’s President and CEO, Jonas Abrahamsson, said it was “naturally gratifying” to be taking the first step towards remote services at our airports after many years of intense work and collaboration with the Swedish Civil Aviation Administration. “Launching the services at Kiruna Airport is a milestone in Swedavia’s digitisation and innovation strategy and part of our continuous work to develop the airports of the future in line with our connectivity mission.”

Swedavia and the Swedish Civil Aviation Administration signed a declaration of intent to study conditions for remote tower servcies in 2016. In 2017 an agreement was signed to set up these services at four of Swedavia’s airports including Kirun Airport. The other three Swedavia hubs: Umeå Airport, Åre Östersund Airport and Malmö Airport will introduce remote tower services before the end of 2022. Remote tower services are already in operation in Sweden as well as internationally.

“We now have new opportunities for more efficient airport operations, and at the same time we safeguard important regional access by ensuring redundancy and enabling flexible opening hours. We look forward to good collaboration in the continued work to place the system in service at our other airports,” added Abrahamsson.

The new remote tower services at Kiruna Airport were developed by Saab and includes 14 cameras, which provide a 360-degree view of the airport and its surroundings, replacing the current control tower service on site at the airport.

“One of the greatest advantages that we see with the transition to remote tower services is that the technology will make it easier for us to ensure our preparedness with air ambulance flights 24 hours a day, but it will also make our mission to provide connectivity with schedules passenger service easier,” stated Kirunn Airport’s Director, Andreas Fredriksson.

The introduction of remote air traffic services at Kiruna Airport follows the switch to remote tower services at London City Airport in the UK just one month ago.

London City celebrates being first major airport controlled by a remote tower

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Situated in the heart of the UK capital, London City Airport (LCY) has become the world’s first major international airport to be fully controlled by a remote digital air traffic control tower.  The multi-million pound investment in the revolutionary technology marks a major milestone in the airport’s investment in its future.

Pioneered by Saab Digital Air Traffic Solutions, the technology has already been successfully tried and tested at Örnsköldsvik and Sundsvall airports in Sweden. City Airport’s digital control tower was actually completed in 2019 but has since been through an extensive testing period before becoming fully operational. As a result, all flights on the airport’s summer schedule will now be guided to land or take off by air traffic controllers now based 115km away at NATS’ air traffic control (ATC) centre in Swanwick, Hampshire. Controllers will use an ‘enhanced reality’ view supplied by a sate-of-the-art 50m digital control tower located at LCY.

The unveiling of the revolutionary technology follows the completion of new aircraft stands and a full-length parallel taxiway which became operational in December 2020.

“We are immensely proud to become the first major international airport to adopt this pioneering technology,” said Alison FitzGerald, LCY’s Chief Operating Officer. The investment in smart infrastructure will help the airport meet future growth in passenger demand and improve air traffic management, as well as provide enhanced capability as aviation bounced back following the pandemic. “It is also a demonstration of the commitment to innovation in the UK aviation sector and to being at the forefront of defining the future of flight,” she added.

Meanwhile, Juliet Kennedy, Operations Director at NATs, commented: “Digital tower technology tears up a blueprint that’s remained largely unchanged for 100 years, allowing us to safely manage aircraft from almost anywhere, while providing our controllers with valuable new tools that would be impossible in a traditional control tower.”

Sixteen high-definition cameras and sensors mounted on the mast capture a 360-degree view of LCY’s airfield. This is relayed through super-fast fibre connections to a new control room in NATS’ air traffic control centre in Swanwick. A dedicated team of controllers use the live footage, an audio feed from the airfield and radar information to instruct aircraft movements in and out of the airport. The live feed is displayed on 14 HD screens in the Swanwick control room providing a panoramic image. This can be overlaid with digital data to provide an ‘enhanced reality’ view.

Information such as call signs, altitude and speed of all aircraft approaching and leaving the airport, weather readings and the ability to track moving objects can all be included in this single visual display. In addition, pan-tilt-zoom cameras can magnify images up to 30 times for close inspection.

“This is an important milestone for Saab in the implementation of remote air traffic solutions at major civil aerospace hubs with dense traffic in a complex airspace. We look forward to seeing the technology take off at London City Airport, giving controllers new tools and safety features which demonstrate the benefits Digital Towers can bring,” said Magnus Lewis-Olsson, Chairman and President of Saab UK.

Research has revealed huge pent-up demand for international travel this summer. British Airways is introducing a new route to San Sebastian, Spain, alongside popular holiday destinations including Ibiza, Mykonos and Santorini to help meet the expected surge in short-haul travel.

Adolf Wurth Airport uses cloud-based ATC solution to monitor air traffic

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Adolf Würth  Airport in Germany has been using a cloud-based air situation display system called PHOENIX WebInnovation since July 2020 to faciliate safe air traffic management (ATM).

The innovative tool runs on an on-premise cloud in the airport control tower and was developed by DFS Aviation Services in Langen, a subsidiary of DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung. Suitable for a wide range of applications, PHOENIX WebInnovation offers users an innovative way to monitor the air and ground situation of air traffic in real time and with the usual high level of quality demanded by ATM.  It is also a very flexible solution that is hardware and location independent thanks to the use of an online cloud and access via the internet but also with the option for local installation. At Schwäbisch Hall the system was integrated into the existing system infrastructure of the airport control tower.

With cloud solutions still fairly unusual in the ATM sector, the installation of PHOENIX WebInnovation in the control tower at Adolf Würth Airport has enabled the aerodrome to efficiently carry out its Aerodrome Flight Information Services (AFIS).

“The substantial mix of IFR and VFR traffic, as well as business aviation and air sports, presents a major challenge in Schwäbisch Hall [where the aerodrome is based]” said Peter Wohlleben, Managing Director of Flugplatz Schwäbisch Hall. “PHOENIX WebInnovation enables our AFIS officers to always have a complete picture of the overall traffic situation.”

Meanwhile, Andreas Pötzsch, Managing Director  of DFS Aviation Services added: “Air traffic control along with its infrastructure is a highly safely-critical industry. We ourselves are an air navigation services provider and we also develop and sell international air traffic control systems. Therefore, we have the same high requirements for our systems and infrastructure as the rest of the aviation industry. We are convinced that cloud technology today has advanced so far that it is able to reliably fulfil these high safety and performance criteria. Now, during the current difficult economic situation caused by the coronavirus pandemic, it is time to take advantage of this great potential and adopt new approaches. Cloud solutions enable greater flexibility, simplify processes and reduce costs.”

Fiji Airports marks milestone with Adacel’s Aurora ATM system

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Fiji Airports, has collaborated with Adacel – a provider of advanced air traffic management (ATM) and air traffic control (ATC) simulation and training systems – have commissioned the new Aurora ATM for surveillance control in Fiji’s domestic airspace.

The airport group, which owns and manages Nadi International Airport, as well as managing the Nausori International Airport and 13 other outer island airports, has been working with Adacel for more than a decade.

In addition to modernising Fiji Airports’ ATM system and providing air traffic controllers with the latest ATM technology, the new Aurora also delivers a complete technical refresh of the system for controllers at the Nadi ATM Centre and Nadi and Nausori towers. Controllers now have advanced tools and capabilities for all traffic domains including new Human-Machine Interface for quick flight plan creation, clearance delivery and coordination as well as optimised electronic flight strips in the towers.

“Deploying a new system with major new capabilities is a challenge on its own; successfully implementing it during a global pandemic is absolutely remarkable,” said Daniel Verret, Adacel’s CEO, referencing the new Aurora ATM system, which integrates oceanic, approach, and tower control capabilities and includes a new simulator to train air traffic controllers in and ADS-B surveillance environment.

The new Aurora integrates industry-leading procedural airspace management with the functionalities and tools needed to manage traffic in a surveillance environment.

“It is a significant milestone for Fiji Airports to make this historic ATM transition during the COVID-19 pandemic. While there was great pressure and valid need to cut costs across most entities in the aviation industry, Fiji Airports persevered with our previous commitment to continue personnel training and upskilling of our people through the implementation of the new Aurora ATM system,” said Fiji Airports Chairman, Geoffrey Shaw.

Unique 4D-profile conflict detection capabilities combined with progressive surveillance-data safety nets ensure system safety. Tower controller working positions are fully integrated into the system and provide optimised electronic flight strips for multiple users.

“This modernises our ATM system and provides air traffic controllers with the latest ATM technology including electronic flight strips, advanced flight and surveillance data processing and training capabilities. It is one of the world’s best ATM systems for managing procedural control in Oceanic Airspace integrated with the capabilities and tools needed to manage traffic in the domestic environment. This approach allows for optimal fuel-efficient routing in the procedural environment with reduced separation minima for airspace efficiency and gives controllers the tools they need to provide ADS-B based surveillance in en route and approach phases of flight,” continued Shaw.