In a major initiative to support airlines and airports battling against increasing costs from Foreign Objects and Debris (FOD) on runways, SITA today announced a partnership with Stratech Systems Limited (Stratech) to make the worlds first intelligent vision-based airfield/runway surveillance system available to its airport customers to identify, track and display FOD in real time.
Following a successful 15-month trial, Stratechs all-weather iFerret solution is being deployed along Runways 1 and 2 at Singapores Changi Airport. It is also being trialled by the US Federation Aviation Administration this coming winter at Chicagos OHare International Airport. Testing at Changi Airport showed that the iFerret FOD detection system was able to reliably detect foreign objects left on the runway surface down to 2 cm in size under 16 mm/hr of rainfall. It also proved reliable under night-time conditions and with environmental factors such as aircraft movements, ambient lighting, rain, shadows or clouds. Bruno Frentzel, SITA Senior Vice President, Application Services, said: "Foreign objects and debris on runways is not only a major safety issue but it also costs around $4 billion annually in direct costs to the aviation industry. This figure can be doubled or tripled when indirect costs such as flight delays are taken into account. SITA is very pleased to enter this strategic partnership with Stratech which will enable us to offer our airport customers worldwide the possibility of using this outstanding technology for real time detection of FOD which will minimize flight disruption, improve aircraft landing slot yield at airports and provide safety levels which will attract new airlines. By reducing damage to the aircraft blades which impacts engine efficiency, it will also help airlines to reduce their fuel bills and carbon footprint." Dr. David K.M. Chew, Executive Chairman, Stratech, said: Runways are a scarce and valuable resource. Using iFerret, air traffic and ground operations control staff can visually assess the FOD identified on a remote screen display without having to physically visit the runway. They can take immediate action to clear the FOD. We are very happy to work with SITA to deploy this unique FOD solution across the worlds major airports. SITA is well-positioned to play a strong community role when it comes to addressing major challenges such as FOD and we are sure that this partnership will have a major impact on reducing the damage to aircraft caused by runway debris. In the present economic climate it can also help airlines and airports to reduce costs significantly. SITA is a specialist provider of IT and telecommunications solutions to the world's air transport industry including airports, airlines and ground handlers. It provides communications services across the world's largest global network in over 220 countries and territories supporting more than 1,800 customers. An estimated 600 million passengers are checked in each year at more than 200 airports worldwide using SITA check-in systems. The Stratech FOD solution matches well with SITA's existing airport and flight operations portfolios.