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Seemless Upgrade Of Air Traffic Control Complete

Airways New Zealand completes seamless upgrade of national air traffic control system

New Zealand has a new air traffic management system which brings new levels of service, flexibility and sophistication to our air traffic control environment. Airways New Zealand has completed a nationwide rollout of one of the most complex technology projects ever undertaken in New Zealand. The three-year project sees the Lockheed Martin ‘SkyLine’ air traffic management system installed into all of Airways New Zealand’s radar centres and control towers.

Airways New Zealand CEO, Ashley Smout, says that SkyLine offers Airways New Zealand the ability to cope with anticipated growth in air traffic and adapt to future technological advances.

“That we have successfully completed a major project of this scope and complexity to specification, on time and to budget, speaks volumes for the capability of our people and our partnership with Lockheed Martin,” said Mr Smout.

“Their dedication, professionalism and sheer hard work typifies the way we work at Airways New Zealand - a company internationally recognised this year as ‘World’s Best’ in its field of endeavour.”

“It is also a reflection of Airways New Zealand’s maturing partnership we have developed with US-based Lockheed Martin. This vital strategic alliance has seen Airways New Zealand share the risks associated with such a complex project, and ensure its success,” said Mr Smout.

SkyLine’s flexibility means Airways New Zealand can continue to fine-tune and develop its capabilities as circumstances and airline requirements demand. With its large, flat-panel colour displays and streamlined operating environment, Airways’ air traffic controllers have on-screen access to a host of at-a-glance information to assist them in their work.

“Airways’ technology team at the Christchurch Technology Development Centre will continue to work with Lockheed Martin on opportunities to develop SkyLine and a range of other industry-specific products for offshore markets,” said Mr Smout.

This includes the implementation of SkyLine into seven air traffic control centres in China, and other opportunities around the world that exploit Airways New Zealand’s unique experience and expertise in air traffic management.


Note to Editors:

SkyLine Information Sheet follows.

INFO SHEET Airways New Zealand’s New SkyLine Air Traffic Management System

SkyLine is a modern air traffic control display and processing system that is fully expandable to meet the future requirements of New Zealand’s airspace. This Lockheed Martin-developed system has been adapted by the Airways and Lockheed Martin engineers for the New Zealand environment. As safety is so critical in air traffic control, the SkyLine operating system has been designed to be robust and reliable. It uses very powerful processing units, no bigger than the average home computer to display aircraft on large flat-panel colour displays along with other information for the controllers. SkyLine is already operational in Korea, Scotland and Argentina.

SkyLine replaces all New Zealand’s radar and flight data processing systems and display equipment in Airways New Zealand’s centres, towers and simulators. Existing radar heads and radio systems continue to be utilised.

SkyLine comprises multiple independent functional components and applications, designed to be combined with one another (and with third-party products), to provide a variety of air traffic management functions - much like a modern-day personal computer has a variety of programmes that work together to supply all the features of the PC. This allows for a very flexible and robust system, where various Flight Data Processing and Radar Data Processing functions can be run from the same or different computers at any time. The user interface is similar to a windows-style system including surveillance displays, flight data displays, and specialist displays with any display able to show on any window. Thus any display will be able to show a radar display window if required. Operator inputs are via a mouse and drop-down windows, and/or specialised function keys.

In Airways New Zealand’s air traffic control centres, the radar and planner operating positions now consist of one large (approx 31inch) square flat panel LCD colour display, and one (18inch) flat panel LCD display. In the control towers there are two or more (18 inch) flat panel LCD displays. These displays are much more compact than existing screens, and are mounted on flexible arms.

In conjunction with the new system, new operator workstations have been constructed and installed in the centres. These were designed and built in New Zealand. Many of the tower consoles have also been redesigned with input from staff and design specialists to ensure they meet and surpass all safety and health requirements. SkyLine has not changed many operating procedures, but there are changes in the way that controllers interact with the system. The major advantages are the vastly increased capacity of the system, the reliability of a modular system, and the system’s ability to have new technology added in the future.

Airways New Zealand’s previous domestic air traffic management system, known as Aircat, was installed in 1991. Over 1999/2000 Airways carried out a review of both its technology needs and the air traffic management technology available and, as a result of this review, in May 2000 signed a technology partnership with Lockheed Martin. This Partnership has several components including the purchase and installation of Lockheed Martin’s SkyLine air traffic management system.

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