Trajectory of aircrafts
Air traffic safety is paramount to Belgocontrol. At the heart of CANAC 2, a high-performance air traffic control system – delivered by Thales ATM and adapted to the needs of Belgocontrol – links radar and flight plan data and constantly extrapolates the trajectory of aircraft. This makes it possible to check the conformity of a flown trajectory in relation to the flight route and the flight profile in relation to the authorised flight level.
Moreover, the system provides air traffic controllers with state-of-the-art safety assistance tools – safety nets - that emit a sound and visual alarm whenever they detect a situation that could potentially become dangerous. These tools include: Short-Term Conflict Alert enhancement (STCA) and Medium-Term Conflict Detection (MTCD), which notify the controller of a risk of non-compliance with the safety distances between aircraft up to 20 minutes ahead of time.
Many other safety nets and surveillance assistance systems are deployed by the CANAC 2 system and cover all situations that could generate a conflict during the different phases of a flight’s progress.
An extensive data exchange - Enhanced Mode S – between the CANAC 2 air traffic control centre and the safety systems aboard aircraft, enables safety nets to be extremely accurate. They detect almost immediately direction or altitude changes and warn the air traffic controller that a pilot chooses another flight level than the one allocated to him. These systems also trigger a visual and sound alarm when an aircraft pilot receives an ACAS (Airborne Collision Avoidance System) alarm. Thanks to CANAC 2 and Enhanced Mode S, the air traffic controller can from now on keep an eye on the cockpit.
The advanced automation of certain tasks, the updating and the immediate availability of aeronautical, flight plan and radar information reduce the risk of error and allow air traffic controllers to concentrate more on the extremely accurate real-time image of traffic situations (situational awareness) afforded by CANAC 2. Moreover thanks to this advanced automation in air traffic control, a sector can be managed by only two air traffic controllers – 2-Men sector – instead of three.
Unmatched level of systems redundancy
In CANAC 2, there are several levels of redundancy of the systems crucial to air traffic safety: the Nominal, the Fallback and the Ultimate mode. The first is the normal operating mode. Fallback and Ultimate, respectively, are the first and second backup levels. They use independent systems which feed the work positions with radar and flight plan data and maintain vocal communications.
In addition to these backup modes, these systems are physically duplicated and installed in two separate computer rooms, far apart from each other and powered by different electrical networks. All of Belgocontrol’s operational systems are constantly monitored by technicians from the Technical Watch Centre set up next to the operations room.
Capacity, productivity, efficiency and environment
Belgocontrol fulfils its safety mission while improving air traffic punctuality, capacity and efficiency, which has a direct impact on kerosene consumption and, consequently, airline costs and the environment. CANAC 2 breathes new life into this ceaseless quest for performances.
Dynamic management of capacity
The new air traffic control system has made it possible to reorganise work in the operations room and in the control towers. Previously, the control of airspace sectors was linked to specific work positions. This implied a certain rigidity in how air traffic control was organised. CANAC 2 offers total sector flexibility, with a very broad capability to adapt to air traffic conditions and, therefore, very dynamic capacity management. The optimised workload distribution improves the air traffic control cost-effectiveness and the productivity.
Tactical management of air traffic flows and reduction of the environmental impact
CANAC 2 provides air traffic controllers with both an overall and extremely accurate view of air traffic. This makes it easier to proceed to a dynamic management of traffic flows. The management tools for holdings (manœuvres of an aircraft in flight waiting its turn to land) and arrival sequence (AMAN) provided by CANAC 2 enable to anticipate potential delays, to reduce them thanks to a more accurate planning of the arrival sequence. They also enable aircraft to resolve these potential delays at high altitude and at the same time to save fuel.
The management of departure routes takes into account the military activity. This will enable us to adopt more direct routes, to relieve congestion in already heavily used routes, to reduce flight time and thus to fully meet our customers’ expectations and to reduce the impact of air navigation on the environment.