Home' Australian Aviation Magazine : December 09 Contents 38
DECEMBER 2009 AUSTRALIAN AVIATION
horn telephones in Australia, I think we buy
them off eBay and that's just ridiculous."
e new tower program began three
years ago, and Airser vices is about to put
out to tender the construction of new tow-
ers at Melbourne and Adelaide airports,
with a new tower at Rockhampton (based
on an Airways NZ design) to follow.
" ere was a huge amount of work
involved in getting that right," said Russell.
ose towers, plus the existing towers will be
fitted with a new "tower technology package
that we've bought from Sensis and Nav
Canada, which is screen based and will re-
move the use of strips... It will give us much
greater capability and I think will improve
the safety of our general operations."
Beyond the current five year capital
spending plan is the prospect of intro-
ducing what Russell has dubbed 'son of
TAAATS', replacing Airservices's existing
hardware and software used in its Mel-
bourne and Brisbane Centres.
" is is going to be the biggest thing
that Airser vices will do for the next seven
or eight years," said Russell. "We need to
do it, our software and our hardware are
getting very dated, and the lead times that
are involved mean that we need to get
under way with this. So we've been work-
ing on it for about a year, not only will it
give us greater functionality and reliability
and in particular we'll look for a modern
approach to redundancy, but it gives us the
opportunity to look carefully with De-
fence and potentially some of our regional
partners about whether or not it's possible
to bring about the same platform or similar
platform, because from there a whole lot of
further procurement issues arise, training
issues arise, it really gives you the opportu-
nity to bring about some really significant
efficiencies and savings.
"So within a complex business this is a
particularly complicated piece of work, and
we've said that we don't expect to be in a
position to be able to provide our board
with a recommendation for probably 12
months, there's that much work that needs
to be done."
Such a 'son of TAAATS' system would
cost something in the order of $250-300
million, Russell estimated.
Other advanced technologies are cur-
rently being rolled out under the Air Traffic
Management Services five year plan, which
falls into the "service" category or Airser v-
ices's "people, assets and ser vices" strategy.
at plan is a five year roadmap for Airs-
er vices's four 'ser vice delivery' environments
-- the east coast ser vices, regional services
and upper airspace ser vices, plus network
management ser vices. Under those four
categories fall an alphabet soup of ser vice
delivery programs -- RNP, FUA (flexible
use of airspace), ADS-B, WAM (wide area
multi-lateration), UPRs and CDM (col-
laborative decision making).
CDM is particularly interesting as it
requires not just of Airservices but of the
airlines and airports a new approach to
information sharing, such as notifying of
delays, to allow for more efficient use of the
national airspace system. e process has
already begun with Airser vices setting up
its National Operations Centre, or NOC,
in Canberra, a kind of mission control
for the entire Australian air traffic man-
agement system to manage demand and
capacity at a system-wide level.
"We've got to work much more closely
with the airlines and the secret to efficiency
in air traffic management, in my view
the next big thing, is not just technology
but it's working together as an aviation
industry, and that National Operations
Centre that we've set up in our Canberra
office is all about that. CDM is a great
concept, everyone puts their hands on their
heart and says 'yep CDM', (but) when it
comes to the practical implementation of
it and the business rules that sit around it
everybody's got to give a little if it's going
to work properly."
In other areas Russell points out that for
all its critics, Airser vices is leading much of
the rest of the world in the roll-out of the
latest air traffic management technologies.
"I recently had the opportunity to speak
at the Naverus PBN (performance based
navigation) conference in Seattle, part of the
reason they asked me to go was that we've
recently done this deal with Naveris to de-
velop the procedures and design for RNP at
eight of the major airports of Australia. We
are so far ahead of the rest of the world that
they wanted me to come there to talk about
it, and I hear with some amusement some
of my colleagues in the ANSP industry how
they are rolling out RNAV, I mean good god
we've had that in this country and taken it
for granted for years."
Still, he cautions against undue haste in
rushing to implement technologies like
RNP without consideration of broader
political issues, especially noise.
"I think we can step up with the effi-
ciency of ATM, but the industry also needs
to be well aware of that need to effectively
engage a community that's very, very alert
to questions and changes of flightpaths and
the uses of airspace."
Airser vices and industry could draw les-
sons from the recent changes made under
the West Australian Route Project, Russell
obser ved, which "technically was successful,
it's improved safety, it's improved efficiency
and capacity of that airport. But we've had
some issues where frankly we didn't do
enough engagement with the local commu-
nities and I think it's a wakeup call for this
organisation, we've got to get much much
better at engaging on these issues."
Avoiding the big issues is certainly
something Russell can't be accused of in his
time as CEO of Airser vices. at his tenure
has been with its hiccups is undeniable, but
equally it is clear that real progress is being
made across very broad and complex fronts.
"I say to people, this isn't a job, this is a
mission, and I know what this place can do,
and believe it or not I get satisfaction out of
seeing other people internally get the idea,
and thankfully more and more of those
light bulbs are going on."
ENABLER Airservices's TINR (telecommunications infrastructure network replacement) project to link its
navaid and communications systems (like these satellite dishes and ADS-B antennas at Broome) with a new
digital communications backbone is due to be completed by Christmas.
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