NAV CANADA extends ADS-B reach

NAV CANADA has extended its surveillance to cover a 1.3 million square kilometre portion of airspace over the North Atlantic; the busiest oceanic airspace in the world.
The additional coverage began in early March through the Canadian air navigation service provider’s further implementation of the satellite-based system, Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B).
ADS-B surveillance allows oceanic controllers at the Gander Area Control Centre to safely reduce separation standards for properly equipped aircraft from approximately 80 nautical miles (NM) to initially 10 NM. This gives air traffic controllers greater ability to provide aircraft with more cost-effective flight profiles, including earlier climbs to fuel-efficient altitudes.
“We estimate that this, combined with ADS-B in northeastern Canada will save air carriers $91 million in fuel costs and result in a reduction of 239,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions from now to 2020,”says Rudy Kellar, vice president, operations.
ADS-B is a surveillance system that combines satellite links, onboard equipment and ground infrastructure to give air traffic controllers the same kind of information provided by radar. Four ADS-B ground stations in southern Greenland were installed for this oceanic expansion.
NAV CANADA’s latest ADS-B expansion follows previous deployments over Hudson Bay in 2009, covering over 850,000 square kilometres, and northeastern Canada in 2010, which added more than 1.9 million square kilometres. The total coverage area for ADS-B now stands at more than 4 million square kilometres, made possible by a total of 15 ground stations installed along the Hudson Bay shoreline, the northeast coast, as well as southern Greenland.
The combined impact of all these ADS-B deployments, projected to 2020, is estimated to be $379 million in fuel cost savings for air carriers, and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 1,017,000 metric tons.
“With this additional coverage, an intercontinental flight could go through approximately 3,300 kilometres of ADS-B coverage,”notes Kellar. “This represents a significant improvement in service for our customers – the airlines and aircraft operators – with economic as well as environmental benefits.”
Currently there are over 1,000 aircraft from 30 airlines that are ADS-B equipped and certified in Canada. That figure is expected to grow appreciably in the future as NAV CANADA’s ADS-B expansion produces major gains in safety and service, providing a strong incentive for more air carriers to become properly equipped and certified for ADS-B.
Incorporating ADS-B surveillance in oceanic airspace required considerable engineering and software upgrades to NAV CANADA’s oceanic air-traffic system known as GAATS – (Gander Automated Air Traffic System Plus).
The GAATS+ display automatically detects when a properly equipped aircraft moves into ADS-B airspace permitting the controller to apply the new surveillance separation standard. Communications between oceanic controllers and pilots in the North Atlantic airspace covered by ADS-B has also improved through VHF radio installations.
Marking 15 years as Canada’s private sector civil air navigation services provider, with operations from coast to coast to coast, NAV CANADA provides air traffic control, flight information, weather briefings, aeronautical information services, airport advisory services and electronic aids to navigation.

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