Edited by Jeff Muskus, Dimitra Kessenides, and Matthew Philips Bloomberg.com
introduced features such as a midair collision warning and a program for controllers and pilots to send each other text messages instead of relying on crowded radio channels.
The paperless tower system transmits data on individual flights instantly to other controllers, making the coordination of flights across regions easier. It enhances safety by notifying controllers of construction on runways and other obstacles. And NAV CANADA gives engineers more freedom to tinker with functionality during development, Troutman and Koslow say.
“By transitioning away from a manual, paper-based system, controllers are able to concentrate more on the visual surveillance of the airport and aircraft,” says Sarah Fulton, spokeswoman for Airservices Australia, a government corporation that oversees air traffic. NAV CANADA has installed its tower software at four of Australia’s airports and has signed contracts to put in four more.
NAV CANADA recently showed off another new system that allows controllers to log in to work and receive pre-shift briefings on an iPad, replacing sign-in sheets and binders. The company is a majority partner in U.S.-based Aireon, which was formed to construct a space-based system of tracking planes that will for the first time work in the world’s most remote oceans and polar regions.
U.S. Representative Bill Shuster, a Pennsylvania Republican who chairs the House’s Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, repeatedly cites NAV CANADA’s success when he calls for partial privatization of the FAA’s air traffic division. Opposition to the idea from Democrats and some leading House Republicans has prevented Shuster’s proposal from moving forward. He has vowed to keep pushing. Alan Levin