The main task of the Belgocontrol meteorological department is to provide meteorological information to the aeronautical sector. The conditions of our mission and the services we provide have been established in the 3rd management contract that Belgocontrol has concluded with the State.
Moreover, through our mission and service provision, we comply with the international regulations as prescribed and monitored by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).
In the first place, we provide services for traffic control carried out by the control tower as well as through en route and approach, and for all airspace users. That large group of airspace users not only comprises international aviation, but also General Aviation, glider pilots and balloonists.
Moreover, we also deliver specific services to airports, airport authorities and handlers: we make precise meteorological observations and draw up meteorological forecasts and warnings.
We act as a meteorological surveillance centre for the FIR (territory of Belgium, Luxembourg and a part of the North Sea).
Our meteorological service not only issues messages that were created in-house, but also puts foreign meteorological information at the disposal of airspace users.
We also play an important role on the international stage, for we are one of three managers of a central European meteorological database (EUR OPMET database).
We keep in close touch with the Royal Meteorological Institute (RMI) of Belgium and with the Meteorological Wing of the Air Component of Defence.
Our services are co-ordinated from the Met Office (the forecast office) which is located in the air traffic control tower of Brussels Airport. Furthermore, we are active at the airports of Antwerp, Charleroi, Liège and Ostend.
The current weather is observed permanently in observation stations at the different airports and airfields. On the basis of these data, we draw up the observation messages (METAR messages), coded according to international agreements, which are issued on an international scale at regular points in time.
An extensive network of systems, such as semi-automatic observation stations, weather radars, lightning detection systems and weather satellite images help us to quickly detect weather phenomena that are dangerous to air navigation and to permanently follow up on their evolution.
Weather forecasts and warnings
In order to draw up weather forecasts for air navigation, it is required to create a whole series of messages and bulletins that comply with international agreements or that have sprung from consultation with our customers.
The forecasts relate to the weather situation at the airports where we conduct our activities as well as to the airspace for which we are responsible.
The weather forecasts are not only converted into text messages, but are also represented graphically through charts and meteograms.
Warnings for hazardous weather phenomena allow all the parties in the air navigation sector to take action in order to optimally guarantee safety. In case of a volcano eruption, Belgocontrol warns all airspace users for which the company is responsible by issuing a SIGMET.
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