Airservices Australia has completed a major upgrade of air navigation systems based on Lord Howe Island.
The commissioning of a new VHF radio and ADS-B satellite-based navigation services will benefit both local air traffic serving the island and high capacity regular international jet traffic to and from east coast airports. Airservices General Manager Technology and Asset Services Alastair Hodgson said the busy airspace around Lord Howe Island hosted numerous crossing points for Trans-Tasman flight routes between Australia and New Zealand and for international traffic from across the Pacific into Sydney. The upgrades to both VHF and ADS-B services on the island significantly improve safety and efficiency for aircraft operating in this area, Mr Hodgson said. For the first time, Airservices air traffic controllers will be able to positively identify, track and directly manage aircraft within a 250nm radius (around 460km) of Lord Howe. The new equipment extends Airservices real-time surveillance of air traffic right out to the boundary of Australias Flight Information Region with New Zealand midway across the Tasman Sea. In conjunction with existing east coast radar services maintained by Airservices, flights between Sydney, Brisbane and Lord Howe will now be under constant surveillance by air traffic controllers. This will improve efficiency of traffic movements into Sydney. The related VHF radio upgrade means aircraft operating in ADS-B coverage of Lord Howe Island will have vastly improved communications with air traffic control, delivering further operational improvements. Previously communication with Airservices air traffic controllers based in Brisbane was via High Frequency radio which was prone to atmospheric interference.