Wings Magazine

NAV CANADA flight data technology expands in the UK

Jan. 27, 2009, Ottawa – Three more air traffic control towers in the U.K. will soon be making use of NAV CANADA technology to manage critical flight data for their day-to-day operations.

January 27, 2009  By Carey Fredericks

Jan. 27, 2009, Ottawa – Three more air traffic control towers in the U.K. will soon be making use of NAV CANADA technology to manage critical flight data for their day-to-day operations, bringing to seven the total number of U.K. towers benefiting from this advanced system.
NATS, the U.K.’s air navigation services provider, has announced that three of Scotland’s busiest control towers, Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh, will be the next to implement what it describes as “technology designed and built by NAV CANADA to manage critical flight data in air traffic control towers and other air traffic facilities”.
The technology, known as IIDS/EXCDS (Integrated Information Display System/Extended Computer Display System) allows air traffic controllers to manage flight data online, eliminating the need for traditional paper flight strips and providing immediate access to key information.
IIDS/EXCDS permits more efficient management and use of airspace and airport capacity. It automates flight data transactions, and can be configured to generate flow management statistics and other information.The technology has been implemented throughout the Canadian Air Navigation system, owned and operated by NAV CANADA.
This Canadian system is the heart of the NATS system called EFPS (Electronic Flight Progress System). EFPS is already operational at Stansted, Gatwick, Luton and Heathrow airports. Stansted was the first site to use EFPS commencing in November 2004.
“Electronic flight progress strips provide significant benefits to our airport air traffic control operations,” said Juliet Kennedy, NATS Services’ Head of Air Traffic Control. “The new project builds on a successful working relationship with NAV CANADA and extends this important development to our busy Scottish airports.” 
 “We are pleased for this opportunity to continue to build on our strong relationship and shared accomplishments with NATS,” says John Crichton, NAV CANADA’s President and CEO. “The results at the four London area airports illustrate the flexibility and adaptability of the EXCDS system to meet the unique traffic demands of each site.”
Air traffic controllers at Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh will also benefit from major software upgrades to EFPS included in the latest release of the system. These upgrades include additional flexibility, improved graphics and HMI (human-machine-interface), and a tighter integration with other systems such as airport surveillance.
For the first time, NATS will be fully responsible for adapting and installing the technology in Scotland – a result of NAV CANADA’s comprehensive training and support program and the collaborative development approach the two air navigation service providers have utilized in recent years.
EFPS is fully interfaced with the Integrated Initial Flight Plan System (IFPS) and other flow management systems located at the Central Flow Management Unit (CFMU) in Brussels. It also interfaces with the BAA’s Stand (or gate) Management System (SMS), U.K. NATS’ National Airspace System (NAS) and it performs Departure Clearance (DCL) with aircraft flight decks.
EXCDS has been operational in Canada since 1998, and is now installed at 31 operational facilities in Canada, including all seven Area Control Centres and 21 of the company’s control towers.  In addition to the four U.K. towers operated by NATS, it is also operational at Copenhagen Tower in Denmark, operated by Naviair.
Edinburgh is Scotland’s busiest airport, with approximately 115,000 aircraft movements annually and nine million passengers per year. Glasgow handles over 90,000 aircraft movements and eight million passengers per year. Aberdeen handles approximately 105,000 aircraft movements annually and 3 million passengers per year.
NAV CANADA, the country's civil air navigation services provider, is a private sector, non-share capital corporation financed through publicly-traded debt. With operations coast to coast, NAV CANADA provides air traffic control, flight information, weather briefings, aeronautical information services, airport advisory services and electronic aids to navigation.
NATS plans and provides air traffic services throughout the United Kingdom and over the eastern North Atlantic, more than a million square miles of airspace. NATS is a public-private partnership between the U.K. Government, a consortium of seven British airlines and airport operator BAA plc, with the staff holding a five per cent share of the company.


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