Helios begins work on GCC ‘seamless’ airspace study

- Farnborough, UK.

Aviation consultancy Helios has been awarded a contract by the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC) Air Navigation Committee to develop a detailed study and implementation roadmap to harmonise air traffic management (ATM) provision across the six GCC States of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates. This is an important strategic project for the region expected to help deliver the additional capacity and improved efficiency necessary to meet increasing demand. It is also the first step towards the ‘seamless’ airspace concept envisaged by the GCC.

The study is planned to last 15 months and will be based around two scenarios. An ‘initial operational’ scenario will focus on increasing interoperability and delivering benefits in the short term by identifying opportunities for developing common standards, operational concepts and improving operational and technical interoperability. A second ‘target operational’ scenario will provide the GCC with a credible route to increasingly harmonised airspace, CNS/ATM infrastructure and potentially the shared delivery of air traffic services.

The project will be aligned to ICAO’s Aviation System Block Upgrades (ASBU) initiative. Importantly, it will also be developed in close cooperation with other national and regional projects, including MID region ATM Enhancement Programme’s (MAEP) MID ATS Route Network Optimization Project (ARNOP) and MID Region AIM Database (MIDAD), to leverage additional benefits.

Chairman of the GCC Air Navigation Committee, Hasan Al Ghorabi comments: “This is currently the most important aviation project for the GCC. We are confident that Helios’ local presence and knowledge, combined with its experience in undertaking similar assignments elsewhere in the world, will provide the necessary expertise to support our own dedicated task force with project delivery.”

Adds chairman of the GCC UFIR Task Force Eng Ahmed Ali Al-Sayed from Kingdom of Bahrain: “The aim is to progressively harmonise how we deliver ATM across the GCC States, enhancing safety and expanding airspace capacity to accommodate the high traffic growth. We are also looking for opportunities to deliver early benefits.”

Concludes Helios’ Director Middle East, Alan Corner: “Helios is delighted to have been chosen to deliver this high profile project. We are looking forward to working closely with key stakeholders to consider the detailed arrangements for each scenario. The focus is very much on practical solutions.”


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