ATM Modernization

Nav Canada Milestone

By Tish Drake | March 1, 2007
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A Nav Canada-designed system reached an oceanic air traffic milestone in February, with the system now tracking more than 1,000 daily flights across the North Atlantic from North America to Europe. Nav Canada, the country’s civil air navigation services provider, said the milestone was a result of a partnership with NATS, the public-private air traffic services collaboration between the U.K. government, a consortium of seven British airlines and airport operator BAA. The initial focus of the partnership, which was forged in 2002, was a project to develop the Gander Automated Air Traffic System (GAATS), operated by Nav Canada controllers in Gander, Newfoundland, to meet NATS requirements. The result is known as the Shanwick Automated Air Traffic System (SAATS), now operational in Prestwick, Scotland. “Transatlantic flights through the busiest oceanic airspace in the world now depend on Canadian technology from landfall to landfall––using GAATS in the Western Atlantic and SAATS for the Eastern portion closer to Europe,” said John Crichton, Nav Canada president and CEO. The technology of both SAATS and GAATS provides controllers with a “moving picture” of air traffic despite the absence of radar in oceanic airspace, through the use of advanced air traffic management software. Both systems allow controllers and pilots to communicate directly through text-based data link over satellite, a significant improvement over HF radio. For related news

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