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AIR TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT
manager. In addition, the service provider is working
on a new project, ACME, which will extend coverage
further by filling any gaps and providing backup.
The network provides ADS-B services to suitably
equipped aircraft in the upper airspace above flight
level 300 (30,000ft), as well as substantial coverage
at lower levels, extending near the surface in the
vicinity of a ground station. ADS-B has allowed
Airservices to cut separation standards from 30nm
to 5nm, increasing airspace capacity airspace.
Airservices Australia says that about 48% of the
national fleet is currently equipped for ADS-B, as
are about 73-76% of all international flights operating
in Australia's flight information region (FIR).
"A total of 361 Australian aircraft are approved,
but of course only a small percentage of the register
operates a lot of flights," says Dunstone. If you look
at the main operators, about 297 aircraft out of 617
are approved, he says. "The important question is the
percentage of flights with equipped aircraft rather
than the number of airframes," he adds (see table).
Australia is taking its ADS-B programme to the next
level by setting December 12, 2013 as the deadline
for mandatory installation of ADS-B technology for
operators flying at and above FL290. Dunstone says
the only concern about this mandate is if operators
don't start equipping now.
After that, Australia will gradually transition to
ADS-B for instrument flight rules (IFR) operations,
with the final rule on subsequent mandates expected
any time now. These are likely to be: February 2014
as the deadline for ADS-B out capability in all new
IFR aircraft registered in Australia; February 2016
for all IFR aircraft operating within 50nm to the
north and east of Perth to be fitted with ADS-B out;
and February 2017 for all Australian registered IFR
aircraft flying in Australian airspace to use ADS-B.
Local operators say they are already seeing safety
and operational benefits from ADS-B. Alliance Airlines,
for example, which operates fly-in, fly-out charter
operations, has fitted ADS-B technology to four of
its Fokker 100s operating in Western Australia (WA).
"Like many operators, we were suffering from the
heavy congestion in areas of WA airspace and we
saw ADS-B as a solution," says Alliance Airlines
managing director Scott McMillan. The airline has
benefited from the technology, both in cost savings
and increased safety, he says, adding that the
carrier's remaining aircraft to be equipped by the
end of this year.
Airservices is particularly keen for operators of
the country's mining charter services, especially in
booming WA, to fit ADS-B technology as soon as
possible, due to massive growth in the sector. In the
north west of WA in particular, where the majority of
mines are located, airspace is reaching its capacity
limits at times.
Dunstone says ADS-B has proved just as beneficial
as Airservices thought at the start of the programme.
It has eliminated the need for position reports and
stepped climb/descent paths, provided operational
transparency and enabled clearances even in bad
weather. However, the full safety benefits won't be
realised until there is 95% equipage, he says.
Airservices has also used its ADS-B operational
expertise -- which dates back to 2004, when the
service provider first launched a trial of the technology
in the Burnett Basin region of Queensland -- to help
other countries in the Asia-Pacific region realise their
"We are working hard with other countries to
co-ordinate deployment and to learn the lessons,"
Dunstone says. In particular, he says, countries
want to avoid the individual-aircraft approval that was
necessary in the early days and will soon no longer
be required in Australia.
"The decision to abandon the aircraft-by-aircraft
approvals -- the 'white list' -- is expected to be made
in the next couple of months," Dunstone says. "We
are aiming for this to become operational in August.
After that time, Airservices and CASA [the Civil
Aviation Safety Authority] will not approve ADS-B
services for each airframe -- in the same way that we
do not approve or check ATC transponders."
"All transmissions will be assumed good, because
responsibility for correct transmission, in accordance
with CASA regulations, will rest with operators," he
continues. "If a transmission is received, ATC will
use it, so operators need to be certain that their
transmissions are good -- or turned off. We will
retain a 'black list' that will remove transmissions
from aircraft known to be non compliant with CASA
According to Dunstone, it is critical that countries
prohibit the transmission of misleading or incorrect
data, as CASA has done. In addition, it is important
for them to work together to identify and share
information on avionics deficiencies.
Since November 2010, Airservices and the
Indonesian Directorate of Civil Aviation have been
exchanging ADS-B data between the Australian
and Indonesia flight information regions -- a world
first. The data sharing allows air traffic controllers
in Airservices' Brisbane centre and Indonesia's
Makassar centre to precisely track aircraft up to
150nm (278km) inside each country's airspace.
The data sharing is going very well, Dunstone says,
allowing the early detection of any human error on
both sides of the FIR boundary.
Airservices, Thales and SITA helped Indonesia launch
its ADS-B programme in December 2006, with a trial
which ran through to the following May. Three ADS-B
ground stations were installed at Natuna Island,
Denpasar and Kupang. A successful trial resulted in
30 ADS-B ground stations being installed across the
Indonesian archipelago. ADS-B is a cost-effective
surveillance tool for Indonesia, which controls a large
area of airspace with heavy traffic.
Airservices and Indonesia's DGCA have been
"A total of 361 Australian aircraft are approved, but of course only a small
percentage of the register operates a lot of flights." -- Greg Dunstone, senior
engineering specialist and ADS-B programme manager, Airservices Australia
Airservices Australia has implemented a nationwide
network of Thales-supplied ADS-B ground stations.
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