Melbourne Airport has received a major technology boost with the commissioning of an Australian-first Category 3 Instrument Landing System (ILS) to improve reliability and safety in marginal weather conditions.
Airservices Australia, the national air navigation services provider, has also confirmed today Melbourne will receive a new $17m air traffic control tower and $21m technical services centre, with tower construction to start almost immediately. The three major projects are part of a multi-million dollar upgrade to aviation infrastructure in Melbourne by Airservices and Melbourne Airport. The new ILS is supported by other improvements including a laser-based runway visual range system to measure fog density, improved taxiway lighting for low visibility onditions and the introduction of runway stop bars to control aircraft movement and enhance safety. In addition, Airservices has recently introduced an Advanced Surface Movement Guidance and Control System (A-SMGCS) which will identify and track every aircraft and vehicle on the airport. Airservices CEO Greg Russell said the upgrades were the result of significant planning and investment by Airservices, the airport and other key stakeholders in the aviation industry. The ILS project in particular involved a high degree of co-operation between personnel from Airservices, Melbourne Airport, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority and the Bureau of Meteorology, Mr Russell said. It is a ground-breaking project and our technical and engineering teams have worked long and hard to deliver the new ILS in time for Melbournes fog season, he said. Melbourne Airports Executive General Manager Simon Gandy said This is a great milestone for all those travelling in and out of Victoria. We are currently the only airport in the country to have this certification, which gives us a fantastic operational advantage that will serve to strengthen our curfew free, single terminal precinct. We invested over $10M in additional infrastructure. The entire project practically ensures a 100% arrival and departure capability in foggy conditions for all approved operators. This whole of industry initiative is fantastic for the state and testament to the partnership between Airservices Australia, airlines and airport operator he said. The airports new Category 3 ILS brings Melbourne into line with major international airports such as London Heathrow and Frankfurt. It allows suitably equipped aircraft to land in marginal weather conditions where visibility is down to as low as 75 metres. Previously these aircraft would have had to divert to an alternative airport without at least 800m visibility to the runway threshold. The new Category 3 system will provide a major boost for international flights in particular as most international aircraft such as the Airbus A380 and latest Boeing aircraft are equipped and certified for such landings. Airservices new control tower, fitted with state-of-the-art technology, will support the recent equipment upgrades and see the replacement of the current tower, which dates back to the opening of the airport, by late 2012. The new 78m high tower will be built adjacent to the current tower by contractor Hansen Yunken and will take into account long-term development plans for the airport outlined in its Master Plan. Airservices new technical facility at the Melbourne Air Traffic Services Centre will house the engineers, technicians and equipment required to maintain the safety and integrity of Australias air navigation system. It will replace a number of separate, ageing buildings predating the opening of Melbourne Airport. Work is expected to start later this year and be complete by late 2011. The projects are part of an ongoing $800m upgrade of Airservices infrastructure, communications, navigation and surveillance capabilities.