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Monthly Archives: January 2014

Benefits of Web-based Airport Hub CommunicationsBritish Airways has had a major rethink over its airport hub communications in a huge cost-management exercise at Heathrow.

After the events of 9/11, the entire aviation industry experienced a hard-hitting profit drop as airport operations were severely affected. To avoid fines and spiralling costs, it is critical that airlines manage to facilitate smooth and reliable airport operations, enabling fast turnaround times and fewer ground delays.

Therefore it is crucial to maintain reliable airport hub communications, especially during take-off and landing over a range of up to 200 nautical miles.

Reliability is everything. The BA ground-to-air radio system is made up of multiple radio base stations distributed around Heathrow using leased lines. The challenge for the airline was to reduce and manage airport hub radio costs, while maintaining the critical reliability that cannot be compromised.

Also, BA were faced with the problem of continuity while the upgrades and switching were taking place. As the largest carrier out of Heathrow, there was certainly no question of grounding aircraft. It was necessary to ensure the new network was set up and ready to go before the switch, which could be a costly endeavour if an entire framework had to be ready.

The answer for BA was the deployment of ground-to-air radio via IP (RoIP). This also allows for expansion, which the previous system did not, already being at almost ‘full’ capacity.

Employing Twisted Pair’s solution, WAVE, has transferred the RoIP to desktop PC’s and server infrastructure, offering a streamlined alternative, seamlessly efficient and brings cost-optimal airport hub radio communications to the fore.

Lee Weatherley, voice and video solutions manager at British Airways said, “Our network convergence project was primarily focused on streamlining the management and provisioning of telephony services throughout the company. We are now exploring ways to exploit the new network to support other forms of communication—for example, we also operate paging, TV, video conferencing and CCTV over our IP network.”

BA operators are now able to communicate to Smartphones and devices, PTT networks and radios from any WAVE-enabled PC across an entirely secure network. Communications history is easily saved and revisited and communications can take place across multiple channels simultaneously, improving the system, managing operational costs and streamlining the process of airport hub radio communications.

 

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Critical Data Transfer Solutions ProvidersByron Capital Markets have recommended a ‘strong buy’ option for FLYHT Aerospace Solution, which includes critical data transfer solutions, aircraft operations management and fuel management system for aviation operators.

“FLY sits at a significant revenue inflection point in 2014 with several events serving as catalysts in the near and medium term”, says the Byron report, “Airbus currently has a backlog of 1,600 planes to be cleared in three years.”

Next-generation messaging systems are set to be mandatory in the skies by February 2015. The strict regulatory requirements is an expected solution for congested airwaves and will mean that critical data transfer can be seamlessly reliable, while lessening the workload in the cockpit.

“Crowded skies, aging fleets, outdated communications are stifling airline the industry,” states the Byron report, “Increasing globalization and trade between developed and emerging markets has and will continue to spur air travel, crowding skies further. Carrier fleets are aging. Workhorses such as the Boeing 737 and 767 are nearing 20 years’ old and are fuel inefficient compared to the current alternatives.”

Other providers of critical data transfer solutions are working hard to ensure that aviation operators are ready for the changeover by this time next year.

Flight Deck WeatherWeather Services International (WSI) has announced a new platform in its aim to further improve aircraft efficiency and safety. The new WSI Business Aviation Solution platform combines tools such as weather and flight information, operational data and airspace constraints, offering those tasked with making operational decisions a comprehensive view of this vital data.

WSI’s information systems are currently in use by over 130 commercial airlines on over 55,000 daily flights and have three main platforms; each targeted to fulfil distinct data requirements.

For pilots WSI Pilotbrief offers global weather information to assist in the optimisation of flight paths.  For schedulers and dispatchers WSI Fusion enables global flight tracking with real-time weather alerts, and WSI Hubcast enables ground crew to track flights and prepare for disruptive weather events.

Up-to-the-minute weather data is critical to flight safety, to facilitate swift decision-making on the flight deck and flight support teams on the ground. Other providers, such as ARINC Direct, bring radar data information outside the U.S. to business aviation operators; the only providers to do so.

Working as the professional solutions arm of The Weather Company, WSI is able to alert aviation to multiple hazards en-route, providing information on anything from turbulence, icing and convection right through to the less frequently encountered presence of volcanic ash.

High Frequency Data Link (HFDL) for Aviation

Garmin International Inc., part of Garmin Ltd., has announced a new portable ADS-B and GPS receiver, the GDL 39 3D. The device adds simultaneous display of aircraft attitude information (pitch and roll), interactive mapping, traffic, and weather information to the Garmin Pilot(TM) application, and includes Garmin’s TargetTrend(TM) relative motion technology.

Garmin say that the subscription-free weather data provided with the system will be similar to that offered by commercial satellite weather providers while the dual link ADS-B receiver will be able to supply ADS-B traffic, weather, and WAAS GPS data to Bluetooth(R) compatible iOS and Android devices.

The GDL 39 3D is able to serve data to two devices wirelessly while hardwired to a third, and gathers traffic and weather information from the vicinity in such a way as to make it available the moment the device is switched on.

Garmin’s Vice President of Aviation Sales and Marketing, Carl Wolf said that the new device demonstrated the companies commitment to easing the transition to ADS-B for all aircraft owners.

Airport Operations Management ProvidersA major shake-up has seen Tulsa International become independent from the City of Tulsa in a move, initially approved by Mayor Dewey Bartlett, that has now been officially agreed by Tulsa Airports Improvement Trust (TAIT).

The agreement will now give the airport more freedom for airport operations management, although, the city of Tulsa will retain control of the airport through TAIT board members appointed by the Tulsa City Council, Tulsa Airport Authority will now lease the airport from the city on a 25-year term.  This will allow it to contract out or hire in for services such as legal, IT and human resources support which were previously provided by Tulsa City which was then reimbursed by the airport. However, some services will continue to be provided by the city and Tulsa International’s 150 employees will remain on their current pension plan.

Passenger numbers at Tulsa International declined 0.3% to 1.316 million in 2013, with an overall decline of 18.5% since 2007. This decline is set against an overall operating budget of $58.5 million in 2013, though airport officials believe the leasing arrangement will enable them to make savings of $500,000.

Other Innovations in Border Security ControlDubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) this month hosted Intersec 2014, with emaratech, the technology and management consulting company owned by the Investment Corporation of Dubai, taking centre stage with its innovative and forward looking border control solutions dubbed “Intelligent Travelling.” Thani Alzaffin, Director General and Board member of emaratech explained that the company had partnered with SRI to produce a suite of technologies, “demonstrating robust security screening and innovative border control solutions.”

IRIS on the move technology (IOM) offers the potential to deal with increasing passenger numbers; reducing both the time it takes to pass through border control and the solving the problems associated with attempting to identify passengers in a busy or limited environment.  Offering non-contact technology, the simple walk-through design of the IOM PassPort SL is able to capture both dual-iris and facial images, without a requirement for the passenger to stop.

Similar benefits can be readily applied to vehicle access points with the IOM PassThru™Drive-up Iris Recognition System, which can replace RFID cards, and can link drivers immediately to their known identity, with the added advantage of being able to record events. In fact emaratech believe the system will become increasingly popular for identification management in many high-traffic environments, including general transportation, employee access and public events.

Critical Physical Security for Airports - Industry ProvidersAs part of the move to reduce pressure on Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia), Paris based company Aeroports De Paris has arrived in the Philippines to begin the feasibility study for the new terminal at the Clark Aviation Complex. The Department of Transportation has commissioned the study and Communications (DOTC) which also proposes to fund the P7.2 billion project that will provide an annual capacity for 15 million passengers.

P600 million has now been approved by the DOTC to enable Clark International Airport Corp. to purchase equipment ahead of its planned improvements to the airport site later this year. These will include a new Dual Passenger Boarding Bridge to enable Emirates Airlines and Qatar Airways, who have recently begun using the airport, to also deploy their wide-bodied craft.

The 2,367-hectare site at the Aviation Complex is also due to benefit from a 26.75-kilometer fence, a 13.2-km Perimeter Lighting System, and modern Navigational Aids Equipment. A further investment into the Emergency Services at the airport will see the purchase of Major Tender and Rapid Intervention Vehicle Fire Trucks in a move that is expected to raise Clark Aviation’s current International Civil Authority Organisation rating from 9 to the required Category 10.

The Clark International Airport Corp. President and Chief Executive Officer Victor Jose I. Luciano said that the rehabilitation of the existing terminal would be completed this month.   Meanwhile, a further feasibility study is planned for the North-South Commuter Railway, with the aim improving accessibility to the airport from Metro Manila. The medium-term plan, according to Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, is to operate both Naia and Clark to serve Luzon.