The air transport industry has faced a considerable decline in passenger numbers due to the worldwide economic downturn. In such times, efficient and economical behaviour is more important than ever also in air navigation service provision, states Stefan Lentz, head of commercial business at DFS, the German air navigation service provider (ANSP).
When offering consulting services, training measures and ATM solutions, in addition to safety and service aspects, we support other ANSPs, airports and civil aviation authorities in optimising their processes in order to reduce costs. At this years ATC Global in Amsterdam from 17 to 19 March, DFS will place the focus on its commercial business. One way to reach more efficiency is to optimise airspace structures. In 2002, DFS completed the comprehensive restructuring of the German airspace and reduced the number of sectors noticeably despite an increase in air traffic. In order to analyse new structures, DFS used fast-time and real-time simulations. Today, for fast-time simulations, we use the object-oriented and multi-agent-based Air Traffic Optimiser by Airtopsoft. The tool enables us to prepare simulation scenarios more quickly and different agents can be assigned varying tasks, says Michael Morr, responsible for fast-time simulation at DFS. Currently, DFS provides consulting services to Serbia and Montenegro's ANSP SMATSA for modernising the ATM and CNS infrastructure. We have supported SMATSA in examining tender documents and evaluating offers, as well as in negotiations in order to assure maximum benefit for our customer, explains Stefan Lentz. Another project DFS is currently working on is the procurement and installation of primary and secondary radar systems in Bahrain. Moreover, DFS provides customised training courses for operational personnel. In February, air traffic controllers of the Egypt National Air Navigation Services Company practiced new approach procedures to Cairo airport at DFS simulators in Langen, Germany. Safety plays the most important role in all our activities, emphasises Stefan Lentz. With its safety management system, DFS fulfils all Eurocontrol Safety Regulatory Requirements relevant for ANSPs and those of the International Civil Aviation Organisation. Solutions for safety management systems are also part of our services. As early as in 1994 DFS had implemented the flexible use of military and civil airspace in Germany. At the moment, we are focusing on future-oriented projects such as the integration of unmanned aircraft systems in airspace that is used by civil aircraft. At the ATC Global, DFS will present its air navigation systems: The arrival management system 4D Planner and the Phoenix air situation display will be at the stand. The tracker system Phoenix is now also able to process automatic dependent surveillance broadcast information and multilateration data. The new technology offers a cost-effective alternative or enhancement to the classical radar coverage. Another new feature of Phoenix is the safety net functions short-term conflict alert, area intrusion alert and minimum safe altitude warning. The functions are currently implemented in a prototype and will be running by mid-2009. DFS will also present a tracker evaluation platform allowing for tracker accuracy determination based on live or simulated data. Two new developments at DFS are the prototype of a meteorological data display system, which assists controllers in assessing weather conditions more accurately, and the SSR Code Pool Assignment Logic Analysis (SCALA) tool, which enables ANSPs to optimise the distribution of codes and to avoid code shortages.