Pacific receives ADS-C tracking boost

Australian, New  Zealand and US air traffic controllers have now been using existing Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Contract (ADS-C) technology to track aircraft across the Pacific Ocean every 14 minutes, more than halving the previous tracking interval of every 30-40 minutes.

This means flights in this region will meet the intent of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) recommendation of tracking oceanic flights every 15 minutes or less.

“It is rewarding to see Airservices close cooperation with New Zealand and US result in this extra boost to passenger confidence in the safety of flying over vast expanses of oceans such as the Pacific,” said Airservices executive general manager, air traffic control, Greg Hood.

Airservices Australia was one of the first to trial more frequent satellite flight tracking, conducting an initial proof-of-concept trial in late January. The 14-minute standard was extended to all Australian airspace by the end of May and Airservices has been working closely with its neighbours to enable a seamless implementation across the Pacific.

Airways New Zealand introduced enhanced tracking at the end of May while the Federal Aviation Administration followed suit within US Pacific airspace at the end of June. Malaysia’s Department of Civil Aviation has recently implemented more frequent aircraft tracking within its airspace using the same technology.

As well as achieving safety benefits, more frequent tracking will allow controllers to provide a higher level of service to flights, including more efficient routing around poor weather to minimise passenger delays and reduce fuel consumption and emissions.

Airservices said it will continue to work closely with its near neighbours such as Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia to continue building satellite tracking coverage in the Pacific region.

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