CANAC 2 : an asset for the future of Belgocontrol

On the eve of profound changes induced by the legislation on the Single European Sky, Belgocontrol reinforces its position by the commissioning of the most up-to-date air traffic control centre of Europe.
OPS ROOMCANAC 2 is the outcome of an investment program that started with the construction of the control tower of Brussels Airport and the new operating site of Belgocontrol at the end of 2004. CANAC 2 is not only an air traffic control centre but also an air traffic management system that is installed in the control towers of the five Belgian public airports - Brussels, Charleroi, Antwerp, Ostend and Liege. It implements an innovative operational concept focused on the tactical management of the air traffic flows. CANAC 2 represents a decisive step for Belgocontrol on its way to conquer a status of key partner in the future of air traffic control as it was set up by the Single European Sky regulation. Decreed by the European Commission, this regulation came into force in 2004 and was followed by a second legislative package in 2009. The goal of these measures, which was the result of demands made by the airlines, is to make the air traffic control in Europe as safe as possible at a minimum cost and a maximum efficiency and so, by creating functional airspace blocks (FAB) regardless of national borders. Therefore there will be, as from 2012, a rationalisation of the air traffic control sector in which this global performance will be a decisive factor. Performance Safety, efficiency and cost control were the leading principles throughout the making of CANAC 2. Belgocontrols mission of public service ensuring the safety of air traffic is consequently even reinforced. As regards safety, the contribution by CANAC 2 is significant. The safety nets, based on radar data and flight plans, produce audio and visual alarms when detecting a potentially dangerous situation as, for example, the non-observance of safety distances between aircraft. The automation of the tasks, the ergonomics and the smooth and quick access to all the tools and information enable air traffic controllers to concentrate at the most on the traffic they manage. As far as air traffic safety is concerned, it is essential to be able to rely on emergency systems in case of a breakdown. In CANAC 2, systems have been made physically redundant and are installed in two separate computer rooms and there are two emergency modes, Fallback and Ultimate. In case of damage, these safety measures ensure the continuity of the services with no loss of capacity. The ergonomics of the work stations that are the single points of access to all of the air traffic controllers tools was subjected to intensive studies. Air traffic controllers need no longer constantly change display screens to access the different applications. The petal configuration of the operational room facilitates communication, which is essential between air traffic controllers. The automation of many tasks enabled us to reduce the staff, necessary to manage one air sector, from three to two air traffic controllers. These sectors - parts of airspace are no longer linked to well-defined work positions as it was the case in the former centre. This new flexibility makes it possible to reorganise the work in the operational room and to adapt staff numbers to the traffic situation. These advantages will lead to a substantial productivity profit. This is very important for Belgocontrol that manages the airspace that is by far the most complex of Europe and must consequently mobilize more staff. New applications in CANAC 2 which, as we may remind, are also used in the control towers, optimize the tactical management of air traffic flows. Traffic is managed in a more global and precise way. Air traffic controllers have a real-time view of the status of the various military areas in the airspace and can take advantage of their temporary availability to let the aircraft follow more direct routes resulting in fuel savings, thus costs reduction for airlines, but also a positive environmental impact thanks to a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Many systems for data management, calculation and updating of automatic data integrated into CANAC 2, allow savings on the punctuality and efficiency side, both on the economic and the environmental level. The performance of CANAC 2, its flexibility and the possibility to integrate the military air traffic control makes that Belgocontrol is in a favourable strategic position when entering into the Single European Sky.
Myriam Schoonbroodt


There are no comments yet for this item

Join the discussion

You can only add a comment when you are logged in. Click here to login