Air traffic controllers at Sydney Airport will now be able to see and identify every aircraft and vehicle across all runways and taxiways following the commissioning of an advanced surface movement and ground control system by Airservices.
The system provides automatic identification of suitably equipped vehicles and aircraft at Sydney Airport for the first time. General Manager Air Traffic Control, Jason Harfield, said the $35m Advanced Surface Movement Guidance and Control System (A-SMGCS) project would provide an electronic picture of what is happening on the ground at any time through the collection of surveillance data from multiple sources. This will lead to improved airport safety and reliability by providing air traffic controllers with an enhanced picture of all movements on runways and tarmac areas. About 800 aircraft movements are monitored by air traffic controllers every day at Sydney Airport. This 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 more challenging. The system will add 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. While this technology does not replace the visual monitoring our controllers conduct, it adds another layer of safety to our operations at Australias busiest airports, Mr Harfield said. The commissioning follows extensive system testing and controller training. A-SMGCS was commissioned in Melbourne in December 2009 and will be rolled out to Brisbane and Perth airports during 2010.