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.”

Global air traffic shows 51% recovery since lowest point

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The Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO) has noted a 51% recovery of global aircraft movements since 12 April 2020 – the lowest traffic point to date during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, the 14 consecutive weeks have shown growth in unique aircraft movements, according to data produced by Aireon.

“While we still have far to go to regain normal traffic numbers, it’s encouraging to see trends that suggest we are on course for a rebound,” said Simon Hocquard, Director General of CANSO. “These numbers are a testament not only to the resiliency of the aviation industry, but to the efforts of air traffic controllers, air navigation service providers, airports and airlines who have provided an essential service throughout this period of uncertainty and change.”

The week of 12 April saw a decline of over 535,000 global flight movements, with the weeks of 15 March and 22 March seeing reductions of 124,000 and 207,000 respectively. However, the past 14 weeks have seen an increase of approximately 272,000 flight movements – a 51% increase. What’s more global average daily flight numbers increased by 5,800 flights in the past two weeks, bringing air traffic volumes to 60% of 2019 volumes for the first time since the widespread traffic restrictions began.

Underlining the value of data-driven insights and analysis in gaining a better understanding of COVID-19’s impact within avaition, CANSO revealed its partnership with Aireon, global provider of space-based ADS-B data and air traffic management (ATM), technology in April.

Aireon CEO, Don Thoma, stressed that, “Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been clear that jurisdictions making decisions based on strong data have been the best prepared… For the aviation industry, data on air traffic has been crucial in understanding how the pandemic impacts a variety of critical aviation stakeholders, both in terms of understanding the trajectory of traffic recovery and how the ATM industry can continue to provide support for our eventual recovery.”

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.”

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.

Air Navigation Solutions launches package to help airports reinstate operations

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Air Navigation Solutions (ANSL), the UK-based air navigation services provider (ANSP) has launched an operational compliance solution to help airports reinstate or scale up their operations in the wake of COVID-19.

ANSL originally developed Attis to manage the recovery and scaling up of its own air traffic management operations at its existing airport locations. But the solution is now being offered to other airports that have either closed or substantially reduced operations since March.

The Attis Basic package is offered free of charge to airports and delivers everything required for the management of a safe and compliant recovery. It includes all Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) required core elements, including: training, rostering, PPE requirements, cleaning and COVID risk assessments engineering. A wider range of tailored services are also available to airports.

“This is a critical time for all elements of the aviation industry to work together to ensure we collectively recover from the pandemic,” said Henry Game, Managing Director of ANSL. “We are keen to play our part in this vital process by sharing our proven expertise in air traffic management to enable airports to scale up their operations in a safe, compliant and cost-efficient manner,” he added.

Meanwhile, Paul Diestelkamp, Head of Business Development & Solutions at ANSL added: “Our work with airports of differing sizes has given us a clear understanding of their operational and compliance needs. This has enabled us to quickly develop solutions that not only serve our existing locations, but can be tailored to the needs of other airports to also help them recover from the pandemic.”