After years of intensive work, Frequentis is proud to announce that the world’s largest Electronic Flight Data (EFD) system at NATS’ Prestwick Control Centre has gone fully operational. Prestwick is one of Europe’s largest En-Route Centres, dealing with the North of England and Scottish airspace as well the Oceanic traffic between Europe and North America; last year it handled in excess of 1.1 million movements.
Aware of the importance of the social aspects of a new transition, NATS opted for a careful approach that gradually introduced the new EFD system over a 6 month period into the live operations environment. Controller feedback during transition has been extremely positive and already over 17,000 hours operational service has been achieved.
It was decided earlier on that in order to truly reduce the operator workload, then full benefit from this new technology would need to be achieved rather than just a transition from paper to glass. To this end an integrated team consisting of controllers, NATS management, unions and the Frequentis project team looked at how advanced features could be introduced safely into the system.
These features included forward coordination and sector specific automatic population of Height Level Speed (HLS) data which omit the need for inter-sector coordination via voice in many air traffic control situations. The reduced workload that has been achieved directly leads to an increased safety margin, which in turn will allow NATS to increase future traffic levels. This development was undertaken in an iterative approach that involved continuous validation by the controllers under operational-like conditions.
Mr. Bardach, Frequentis CEO, said: “This high technology project is a major achievement for our company. The success would not have been possible without the excellent collaboration with the NATS team – we are very proud of our partnership and, as a key supplier, to be able to support NATS to meet future ATC challenges.”
However, the success story does not end here. Since early 2012, Frequentis has been working closely with NATS to integrate Controller Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC aka DataLink) functionality into the EFD system for the Prestwick Control Centre. This CPDLC capability enables NATS to meet the EUROCONTROL CPDLC mandate and this functionality is scheduled to be delivered in 2013.
Richard Deakin, NATS Chief Executive Officer said: “None of this would have been possible without the continuous support of the entire NATS-Frequentis project and development team, who have managed to develop both management and working relationships to the level that we now have established a truly integrated EFD team.”