Slovenian ANSP upgrades area and terminal control with Frequentis software

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Frequentis has been tasked by Slovenia Control, the Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP) for Slovenia, to upgrade the software of the ANSP’s Safety Nets for area and terminal control to provide enhanced performance, safety and alerting functions.

Using both flight plan data and current position data, PRISMA-NET (as the Safety Nets system is called) will provide controllers clear alerts of potential safety issues and is fully integrated into Slovenia Control’s ATM environment. The system also helps ensure safe take-offs, transits and landings and detects deviations from planned course and altitude, depending on the flight data processing system (FDPS).

In 2005, Slovenia Control became the second customer to use the PRISMA_SNET, operational at their air control centre (ACC) at Ljubljana Joze Pucnik Airport. The latest upgrade, contracted in December 2021, will meet all the specific requirements of Slovenia Control.

Referencing the partnership, Slobodan Opacic, Head of the Development Department at Slovenia Control said: ” Slovenia Control’s fundamental guiding principle is to attain, maintain and constantly raise our safety levels and targets. For many years now, Frequentis Comsoft has been a reliable partner for achieving these goals. We look forward to working together on future projects.”

PRISMA-SNET provides a common framework that supports functions such as short-term conflict alerting (STCA) minimum safe altitude warning (MSAW), area proximity warning (APW), cleared level adherence monitoring (CLAM) and route adherence monitor (RAM), depending on FDPS input.


Header image: Slovenia Control HQ

CANSO’s Environmental Accreditation Programme to help ANSPs decarbonise aviation

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Following in the footsteps of the Airport Carbon Accreditation programme, the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO) has launched GreenATM – an independent, industry-endorsed, environmental accreditation programme.

CANSO’s accreditation programme will assess and benchmark on a common framework the measures Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) are taking to reduce aviation’s emissions and their own environmental footprint.

With climate change being a critical issue for all stakeholders across the aviation industry, CANSO is committed to support civil aviation in the achievement of the industry’s joint goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

“Meeting aviation’s climate goals will require collaborative action by all parties,” said Michelle Bishop, CANSO’s Director Programmes. “While the ATM industry alone cannot get aviation to net zero, we can take responsibility for ensuring that it plays its part and provide strong and clear leadership for early action.”

She added: “There are a variety of programmes which offer companies frameworks or standards to align their environmental activities; however none of them fit the unique nature of an ANSP. And so CANSO is proud to launch its Environmental Accredditation Programme, GreenATM.”

participating ANSPs will be assessed on how they facilitate minimising excess emissions in their airspace, as well as efforts to reduce their own direct environmental footprint. GreenATM covers a range of topics related to governance and policy, ground, terminal and enroute operations, infrastructure and sustainable procurement practices. ANSPs will be assessed against five defined levels for each topic.

“By highlighting the areas an ANSP can positively influence its own environmental footprint and that of its customers, the GreenATM programme reveals a path to higher ambition and provides a framework for engagement with stakeholders and employees alike on climate action,” Bishop concluded.

London City scoops multiple awards

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London City Airport has been celebrating multiple wins over the last couple of weeks having been named by the Daily Telegraph as the best airport in the UK and scooping  airports Council International (ACI) Europe’s Best Digital Transformation Award at the 32nd ACI Europe annual congress in Rome on 23 June.

ACI’s award was given in recognition of the design, delivery and operational success of the pioneering Digital Air Traffic Control Tower, which has been fully operational at London City since January 2021. London City’s digital tower has 14 high-definition cameras and sensors mounted on a landside mast at the airport that provide a 360-degree view. This is all fed back via super-fast fibre connections to a NATS control room centre in Swanwick.

The swift deployment of the project and the close collaboration between the airport, NATS, SAAB, the CAA and engagement with airline and local community stakeholders were all contributing factors to the London City hub receiving its award from ACI Europe.

Commenting on the accolade London City Airport’s COO, Alison FirzGerald said: “This project goes back to 2016 and I want to pay tribute to everyone involved in getting it approved by our regulators, as well as built, operationally ready and prepared for a busy summer ahead.

“This recognition also speaks to the strength of the relationship we have built with NATS over the years, and I am hopeful that there is even more we can achieve together, helping us both to lead the way in making our industry safer, more sustainable and cutting edge.”

Serving the UK capital, London City is set to connect to 36 destinations across the UK and Europe. The airport is fully staffed for the summer period.

WATM: Al Ula Airport to become first Middle East hub to deploy remote tower technology

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Technological engineering company, Indra, and Saudi Air Navigation Services (SANS) have agreed to develop and operate the first virtual control tower to enter service in the Middle East at Al Ula International Airport.

The two companies will lead the introduction of this revolutionary technology into a region with a large number of medium-sized airports that will benefit from its use, as they will be able to conduct all their management from a single virtual tower to reduce operating costs and increase the frequency of flights.

Following the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), SANS CEO Abdulaziz bin Salem Al Zaid underlined his confidence that “this project will constitute a qualitative leap for the navigation services provided by SANS and enhance its position as one of the operators that manages its airspace in accordance with the most demanding international safety and quality standards.”

Indra’s Director of ATM Operations, Javier Ruano, added: “We’re redoubling our efforts to make the Saudi service provider one of the world’s leaders in air traffic management and equip the country with the most advanced infrastructure. Indra and SANS have once again demonstrated their commitment to ongoing innovation and the incorporation of the next-generation digital technologies that will shape the future of the sector.”

WATM: Frequentis partners with Fintraffic ANS to transform air traffic surveillance

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Finland is set to transform its air traffic surveillance by operating tje world’s largest Wide Area Multilateration (WAM) system with a network of more than 120 ground stations ranging from the Baltic Sea to Northern Lapland.

Finish Air Navigation Service Provider, Fintraffic Air Navigation Services (ANS) is using a WAM system from Frequentis Comsoft. The company installed its Quadrant system to provide WAM and ADS-B (automatic dependent surveillance – broadcast) coverage for 80% of the Finnish airspace.

Providing a high-quality surveillance picture with highly accurate aircraft position measurements and high update rate, the WAM system extends the air traffic surveillance capability for Fintraffic ANS, as well as creating a Mode S airspace (S= selective communication with individual aircraft), improving aircraft identification, situation picture and tracking. The south-western WAM region, including Helsinki, was put into operation in Q1, 2022 with air traffic controllers said to be delighted about the surveillance performance and extended system coverage.  Remaining WAM regions are expected to be in operation in early 2023.

“Putting the Quadrant WAM system into operation marks a major milestone for Fintraffic ANS, contributing to transforming the Finnish airspace into full Mode S Enhanced Surveillance while extending coverage. Excellent quality, high update surveillance data integrates seamlessly with our trackers,” said Tero Alastalo, SUR System Manger, Fintraffic ANS. “The robust Frequentis Comsoft Quadrant ground stations, with their minimal maintenance needs, are the perfect fit for our environment with many remote locations inaccessible during winter months.”

With a population of 5.5 million, Finland’s passenger numbers are almost five times that figure, with close to 25 million passengers reported in 2018 and 26 million in 2019. Helsinki Airport alone managed close to 22 million passengers in 2019.

The Frequentis Comsoft WAM service covers the Finnish Flight Information Region (FIR), from 600 ft above sea level, and additional lower airspace coverage for 19 airport areas. ADS-B service is provided for the FIR and for airports to ground level. The system provides high resilience, assuring continuous WAM service. Helsinki FIR and airport are designed with N-2 ground station redundancy.

Commenting on his delight at being able to support Fintraffic ANS in modernising surveillance across Finnish airspace, Constantin von Reden, Managing Director Frequentis Comsoft added: “With this WAM system from Frequentis Comsoft we have helped them prepare for new demands on their service, providing extended surveillance capabilities while improving safety and service quality.”

Rohde & Schwarz selected by Vietnam ATM corporation for state-of-the-art ATC solution

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Vietnam Air Traffic Management Corporation (VATM) has contracted Rohde & Schwarz to equip nine regional towers throughout the country with reliable communications solution.

As part of the agreement, Rohde & Schwarz will provide the R&S Series5200 air traffic control (ATC) radio, as well as its CERTIUM VCS-4G – IP based voice communications system (VCS).

“Rohde & Schwarz is proud to provide VATM with the latest communications technology,” said Marium Munstermann, VP ATC at Rohde & Schwarz. “We have a long and successful relationship with our Vietnamese customer. From the controller working position to the antenna, our integrated all-in-one, IP based solution gives VATM highly secure, safe and reliable ATC communications with excellent RF performance.

The new R&S Series5200 radios represent the next generation of VHF and UHF radios for ATC communications, increasing system reliability with a new security-by-design architecture to make air travel even more secure. The radios are future-proof; later system expansions will require no additional hardware thanks to the software defined radio concept.

Both the VCS system and the Series 5200 ATC radio are part of Rohde & Schwarz’s CERTIUM, an advanced communications suite for ATC from the microphone to the antenna.

Header image: Rohde & Schwarz is to equip nine regional towers across Vietnam. Shown: Can Tho Tower. (Image: Rohde & Schwarz) 

Adacel finalises acquisition of virtual ATC tower solution

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Having previously announced in February the acquisition of a new virtual Air Traffic Control (ATC) tower solution, Adacel has now completed the purchase.

The new system has passed a rigorous Site Acceptance Testing (SAT) with Estonian Air Navigation Services (EANS) to provide virtual ATS tower operations for Kuressaare in Tallinn.

“We welcome our new team and customer to the Adacel family,” said Daniel Verret, Adacel’s CEO. “The new virtual ATC tower solution presents immense opportunities for everyone, and along with our deep industry expertise and ever-evolving technological advancements, we look forward to continuing our safety and efficiency in aviation.”

The tower, which is built on modular, open architecture principles, is suitable for a variety of functional needs, including integration with existing or new air traffic management, communication, navigation and surveillance systems.

With the Kuressaare SAT completed, the team will now work closely with EANS to ensure the successful deployment and seamless transition at its next location at Tartu Airport, followed by Pärnu and Kärdla airports in Estonia in due course.

“This is the first time EANS is at the developers’ end completing site acceptance testing  (SAT). Kuressaare SAT was done in a very short time,” said Iva Värk, EANS CEO. “It proves that the development has been done thoroughly and the outcome is a reliable system that effectively supports ATS service provision in all Estonian regional aerodromes.”

EANS plans to digitise all Estonian airports by 2025.

Kongsberg to modernise Concord-Padgett Regional Airport’s air traffic control system

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The City of Concord in North Carolina has teamed up with Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace, a global provider of high-technology and mission-critical systems, to agree a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) to enable the installation and eventual certification of the Kongsberg Remote Tower System at the airport.

Acknowledging the importance of addressing rising costs for its bricks and mortar tower, Concord Airport Director, Dirk Vanderleest, said: “It’s important to identify innovative means to meet our changing airport operating environment. Remote Towers have been designed to enable more efficient, cost-effective air traffic management which is welcomed news for our airport and many others across the country. We look forward to working together with Kongsberg, the FAA and our ATCs on this exciting project.”

Kongsberg Remote Towers will replace the traditional airport air traffic control towers with a virtual or remote tower and are operated by controllers from a remote tower control centre, which may be located at the airport or at an alternative site.

Providing secure, high fidelity video presentations from a camera sensor, the installation and evaluation of the Kongsberg Remote Tower moves the airport and the US a step closer to enabling remote towers and their built-in smart technical capabilities.

Kongsberg’s 360-degree camera sensor will be used to replace the information controllers presently gather by looking out the tower cab windows. The remote tower system also provides added capabilities that will increase the controllers’ areas of visibility and enhance it with infrared capabilities, increasing aviation safety – all in support of the remote tower technology being evaluated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

“Kongsberg Remote Tower system is operational in Europe, and we are proud to bring this ground-breaking technology to Concord-Padgett Regional Airport,” said Kjetil Reiten Myhra, Executive Vice President, Integrated Defence Systems, Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace. “Kongsberg will be working closely with the local air traffic controllers to customise and adapt the system to support FAA Remote Tower Type Certification. We look forward to providing US airports with viable alternatives to traditional air traffic control towers and controllers with modern technology to perform their safety-critical services.”

Eirik Tord Jensen, President of Kongsberg Defense Systems, USA, added: “The fact that we have entered into a formal, long-term agreement with the City of Concord shows the progress and commitment being made between the parties and Remote Tower technology. Remote Tower technology represents a cost-effective solution for the future of air traffic management. Now the team moves on to the next major milestone of making the Kongsberg Remote Tower an operational installation to begin its FAA Type Certification in 2023.”


Frequentis strengthens cooperation with Austro Control to enable safe flying with drones

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With the number of drones in Austria on the rise, the Austrian Air Navigation Services Provider (ANSP) Austro Control is relying on the development of an Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) system to ensure that uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs) can continue to fly safely. As such, Austro Control has extended its decade-long cooperation with Frequentis by launching a drone management solution to enable the safe integration of uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs) into Austrian airspace.

The system, which will be operational by early 2023 will ensure that flight clearances for drones are handled faster, safer and more efficiently in the future in an area where both crewed and uncrewed aircraft are on the move. As such it will offer advantages for drone pilots as well as for Austro Control’s air traffic controllers.

“Drones are among the central topics of the future for Austro Control,” said Austro Control Managing Director, Valerie Hackl. “The possible applications in the commercial sector know hardly any limits. At the same time, there has been a veritable drone boom in the private sector for several years. These developments require a redefinition of airspace. With the air traffic management system, we will make drone flying in Austria even safer in the future.”

Hackl was joined by Frequentis CEO, Norbert Haslacher, who explained that the new UTM drone traffic management system is paving the way for an ecosystem that meets the increasing demand for drone flights in a regulated airspace, thanks to the possibility to embed a wide range of services and the connection of additional user groups.

“We are pleased to implement this forward-thinking project together with our long-standing partner Austro Control” Haslacher said.

With Frequentis’ cloud-based UTM solution, future communication between drone pilots and Austro Control will be based on digitalisation and automation. In the first stage of the joint project, the digital transmission of drone flight plans and the release of drone flights into controlled airspace by air traffic control are on the agenda. Subsequently, in line with EU regulations currently being implemented, drone identification and warnings of restricted airspace will be activated in the system.

Key features of the system that will be gradually implemented over the next few years are: the intuitive application for air traffic controllers and the mobile application for drone pilots enabling the real-time establishment of airspace rules and restrictions, review of flight plans and issue clearances for drone pilots. Other services include warnings of airspace that is closed – even at short notice and digitisation of the previously manual approval of flights. In addition, the traffic management system for drones also supports the Austrian economy, which wants to establish new services on the market through the use of drones.

Header image: Philipp Piber, Managing Director Austro Control; Valerie Hackl, Managing Director Austro Control; Norbert Haslacher, CEO Frequentis © Frequentis

Chile to welcome world’s first solar-powered ATC radar station

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Global technology leader, Thales, is advancing air traffic surveillance and safety in Chile with a new radar station, which will be 100% powered by sustainable solar energy.

A world first, the Air Traffic Control (ATC) radar station will be based in Calama in the Atacama Desert and will be the first of its kind radar system leveraging 330 solar panels to take full advantage of the high levels of sunshine in the region. The system also delivers windfarm mitigation filters.

The solar-powered radar station has been developed by Thales for Chile’s civil aviation authority,  Direccion General de Aeronautica Civil (DGAC). It is comprised of an advanced and efficient Star NG primary radar, as well as an RSM secondary radar. Together the radars provide all the operational surveillance requirements of both civil and military ATC and detect both slow and fast-moving targets such as helicopters, commercial planes and jets.

Lionel de Castellane, Head of Civil Radars Thales Worldwide said: “Today’s climate and energy constraints mean new ways of doing things and we are proud to contribute to the world’s first ATC radar contributing to a greener and more sustainable air travel future for the DGAC in Chile, as well as improving the safety of Chilean skies.”

Based on an efficient and comprehensive power management system, Thales’ solar-powered ATC solution could be employed on different sites. Advanced battery technology, as well as back-up generators are deployed to secure the overall radar station operations and safeguard it against power outages or limited availability of regular sources.