Airservices has commissioned Australias first advanced surface movement radar system at Melbourne Airport.
The system enhances airport safety and reliability by providing air traffic controllers with a complete picture of all aircraft and vehicles on the runways and tarmac areas, even in reduced visibility. General Manager Air Traffic Control, Jason Harfield, said the $35m Advanced Surface Movement Guidance and Control System (A-SMGCS) project was a major step forward in airport safety. The system offers better conflict detection for controllers (for example, vehicles crossing an active runway without clearance) and a lower risk of surface collisions, Mr Harfield said. It also improves the reliability and efficiency of airport operations during bad weather and at night, when distances from our control tower can make visual monitoring of ground activities more challenging. The system aggregates surveillance data from multiple sources to provide an electronic picture of whats happening on the ground at any time. It adds to controllers situational awareness by predicting conflicts between ground service vehicles and aircraft, and multiple aircraft movements, before they can occur. Visual and aural alarms alert controllers to potential problems and allow them to take corrective action. The greater level of certainty also means more reliable airport operations less delays for passengers. While this technology does not replace the visual monitoring our controllers conduct, it will add another layer of safety to our operations at Australias busiest airports, Mr Harfield said. The commissioning follows extensive system testing and controller training in Melbourne. A-SMGCS will be rolled out to Sydney, Brisbane and Perth airports during 2010.