Sensis Continues On-Time Deployment of ASDE-X Now Operational at 32 Airports

Thirty-two major U.S. airports are now operating with Sensis Corporations Airport Surface Detection Equipment, Model X (ASDE-X). ASDE-X is the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)s key runway incursion detection and alerting program set to be deployed to a total of 35 airports by mid-2011.

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The technology is enhancing the safety of airports by providing air traffic controllers, including those at five of the 10 busiest airports in the world, with precise surveillance of aircraft and vehicles on the runways and taxiways. ASDE-X also incorporates the industrys most advanced conflict detection and alerting capability, Safety Logic, to provide controllers with automatic visual and audible warning of potential incursions.

As the FAAs primary runway safety tool, ASDE-X has made a positive impact in the reduction of runway incursions, including a 50 percent reduction in serious incursions for the FAAs last two fiscal years, from October 2008 through September 2010. Earlier this year, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released its updated Most Wanted List Transportation Safety Improvements, which upgraded the status of its runway safety recommendations. In response to the updated list, the FAA noted that the deployment of ASDE-X and Runway Status Lights (RWSL), also being deployed by Sensis, are addressing the NTSBs recommendation to give immediate warnings of probable collisions/incursions directly to flight crews in the cockpit.

ASDE-X combines surface movement radar, multilateration and Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B) surveillance to provide air traffic controllers with highly accurate, real-time position and identification information of aircraft and vehicles on the airport surface. By integrating multiple surveillance technologies, the system delivers a comprehensive picture of ground operations, increasing controller situational awareness and improving airport safety in all weather conditions. The system also features advanced runway conflict detection and alerting technology, Safety Logic, which uses complex algorithms to alert controllers of potential aircraft or vehicle incursions. Further, ASDE-X is serving as the surveillance infrastructure for the FAAs RWSL program.

The ASDE-X program is on schedule to be completed by the middle of next year, enabling the busiest, most complex airports in the country to significantly enhance runway safety, said John Jarrell, vice president and general manager of Sensis Air Traffic Systems. In addition, the flexible, open architecture of ASDE-X makes possible the development of an additional layer of surface safety, Runway Status Lights, which is now being installed at 23 airports.

In addition to enabling other safety solutions, ASDE-X also facilitates the sharing of surface surveillance information through data distribution. In the Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics (RTCA) NextGen Mid-Term Implementation Plan, the organization recommended that surface situational awareness of the runways, taxiways and ramp areas, obtained through a system such as ASDE-X, be shared among airport stakeholders to create a more efficient airport surface management environment. The FAA identified in its response to the Plan a number of actions to enhance surface movement activity through shared situational awareness of surface activity.

Although ASDE-X is a surface safety system, the industry has identified that the highly accurate surveillance and identification data can be used to improve airport surface efficiency, such as reducing delays on the surface, said Jarrell. At JFK International Airport, where the FAA has invested in additional surveillance for the gate area, the airport authority and airlines have access to the same high quality information to better manage daily operations and facilitate collaborative decision making.

For a list of the 35 airports in the ASDE-X program and the status of deployment, please visit

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