NAV CANADA shares award for enhanced oceanic navigation system

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Photo credit: NAV CANADA

 

Canada’s private sector civil air navigation provider, NAV CANADA, has won a prestigious international award for its COAST initiative. The award, which NAV CANADA shared with British counterpart NATS, is the IHS Jane’s ATC award in the category Service Provision. The award was handed out in Madrid, Spain, yesterday, on the eve of the annual World ATM (Air Traffic Management) Congress.

The award is for the air traffic control system known as GAATS+ (Gander Automated Air Traffic System Plus), which NAV CANADA says is the most advanced oceanic air traffic management in the world. It is used by controllers at the Area Control Centre in Gander, Newfoundland, to direct more than one thousand flights a day over the North Atlantic. The system was developed jointly by NAV CANADA and NATS. A press release says the system facilitates increased automation in the exchange of data with other air traffic facilities and integrates safety net tools such as conflict prediction and conflict alert. The system makes oceanic flight safer and more efficient, says NAV CANADA.

One of the ways it makes flight more efficient, according to a “backgrounder” provided by the company, is by supporting Reduced Longitudinal Separation Minima, or RLongSM. This refers to the minimum distance that must be maintained between any two aircraft in order to reduce the risk of collision or accident due to wake turbulence. The traditional distance, measured in minutes, has been ten minutes for non-radar airspace; the GAATS+ system allows a separation of just five minutes for properly equipped aircraft. The reduction in RLongSM can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the company says, by as much as 3,000 metric tons per aircraft, and a corresponding fuel saving of “approximately $1 million.”

NAV CANADA manages 18 million square kilometres of airspace and manages 12 million aircraft movements a year, making it the second-largest air navigation service in the world by traffic volume. It serves 40,000 customers from facilities that include area control centres, airport control towers, flight service stations and flight information centres, and Community Aerodrome Radio Stations. The company has previously won three International Air Transport Association (IATA) Eagle awards as best air navigation service provider in the world.

Winners of the IHS Jane’s ATM Awards were selected by a panel of judges representing the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), EUROCONTROL, the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO), the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers’ Associations (IFATCA) and IHS Jane’s.

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