State-of-the-art world class Air Traffic Control facility and regional centre of excellence for air traffic control
10th November 2009
Abu Dhabi, UAE: Ahead of its official opening under the patronage of HH Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan President of UAE on November 14th 2009, key local and international media today visited the UAE’s new Air Traffic Control Centre, the Sheikh Zayed Centre. Hosted by the Director General of the UAE’S General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi, the media undertook a comprehensive tour of the facility as well as being briefed by key GCAA officials on its significance in the developing local and regional aviation business.
The state-of-the-art AED 300 million facility is the largest and busiest air traffic management facility in the Middle East as well as one of the world’s most technically advanced centres in terms of its design. It provides the safe and efficient handling of inbound and outbound air traffic which has increased significantly over the last five years as a result of the UAE’s growing importance as a strategic business and leisure destination on the regional and international stage.
The General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) which is the sole authority for the control and regulation of civil aviation in the UAE is responsible for the provision of en-route air navigation services and all aspects of flight safety.
Speaking to the press the DG of the GCAA, H.E.Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi, said: “We are happy to meet with you again to announce the date of the official opening of Sheikh Zayed centre on the 14th of November. The state- of- art Centre has been designed and built using the world’s latest cutting-edge technologies. It will give us the technological advances and operational headroom we need to accommodate a substantial increase in air traffic volume over the next 20 years when we anticipate handling safely in excess of two million annual movements.
Al Suwaidi continued: “The Sheikh Zayed Centre is not only another centre of excellence within the Emirates but can also be held up as a model for the international aviation sector and bears international recognition amongst the global civil aviation community.”
The Centre comprises two main buildings – the main ATCC and the emergency ATCC –housing 76 working positions for live aircraft control, military liaison and emergency cum training roles. This represents a tripling of the previous facility’s capacity. The Main ATCC building has a 600m2 air traffic control (ATC) room with sufficient sector suites equipped with the latest technology to accommodate traffic growth for the next 20 years or a total traffic volume exceeding 2 million annual movements. It is furnished with the very latest, next generation industry technology including:
• An Air Traffic Management (ATM) display system from COMSOFT, a proven supplier to the ATC and ATM markets for more than two decades, serving the aviation community with innovative solutions and profound consultancy. The ATM system permits flexible sectorisation to task individual air traffic controllers in the most safe and efficient manner. It also comes equipped with a number of modern tools such as arrival and stack managers as well as medium term conflict detection to optimize traffic handling.
• COMSOFT’s ARTAS, a system designed to establish an accurate Air Situation Picture of all traffic over a well-defined geographical area and to distribute the relevant surveillance information to a community of user systems.
• Aeronautical Messaging Handling System (AMHS) also designed by COMSOFT.
• Integrated voice communication is supplied by Park Air Systems, a global provider of the world's leading Communication, Navigation and Surveillance (CNS) technologies to provide integrated Air Traffic Solutions for Air Space Management.
• A Micro Nav ATC simulator is installed in the emergency ACC. Micro Nav Ltd is a leading specialist company developing and supplying air traffic control and fighter control simulators.
Also on the site there are four 60 metre high communications masts designed in sympathy with the surrounding local environment combining aesthetic quality with practical application.
The centre also boasts autonomous power providing four levels of fallback from prime power for the main Air Traffic Centre equipment.
The GCAA is considered the pioneer in areas such as integration of ADS-B in the surveillance picture through the ARTAS tracker, which was installed in the centre on 01 June 2009, design and operational implementation of RNAV 1 routes both for en-route and in terminal environments. Together, these modernisation programmes serve to alleviate traffic congestion, minimise delays, shorten routes and create the capacity necessary for sustained growth in air traffic necessary for the economic well-being of the country.