January 31, 2012

Airbus ProSky's solutions for Air Traffic Management

News Report

As illustrated in a recent press release, EADS is launching Airbus ProSky, i.e. Airbus' new subsidiary company which offers integrated airport surface management for air traffic controllers. Airbus ProSky will become the channel through which Airbus will interact and develop Air Traffic Management programmes such as the Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) in Europe, as well as NextGen in the U.S. In particular, for these two ATM programmes, the new company will help accelerate and support the process of their implementation, and link them together by capitalising on the technological, operational and commercial synergies.

The Technology

Airports strive for eco-efficient ground operations including safe taxiway routing for pilots, all-weather guidance between the terminal gate and the runway, and control of aircraft and vehicles. Airbus ProSky is responding to this demand by complementing its ATM offerings with a powerful airport surface management system (SMAN) for Air Traffic Control centres worldwide.

SMAN was designed for environmental efficiency by the German company ATRiCS and is now offered through Airbus ProSky. A unique feature of this airport surface management system is that it automatically switches on the green taxiway lights in front of the aircraft as it moves forward, to illuminate the correct route ahead for the pilot to follow. Overall, the system reduces taxi time and maximises airport capacity and aircraft throughput, while its intelligent predictive guidance also prevents runway incursions and a ‘wrong-turn’. SMAN thus smoothes overall traffic flow and facilitates a continuous taxi speed. This results in less queuing, less ‘stop-and-go’, and of course, lower CO2 emissions.

SMAN integrates an airport's existing surveillance and lighting infrastructure with a truly coherent surface movement management system. For each mobile located in the movement area, SMAN proposes an individual taxi route to the controller. To save controllers from the tedious task of manually modifying route proposals, SMAN computes any route from scratch, taking into account the current traffic situation, preferences and constraints. At any time, the controller can change the mobile's destination or route. During taxi, SMAN automatically switches the taxiway centreline lights to unambiguously indicate the assigned taxi route to the pilots. At any time, the controller can manually control stop bars and illuminate taxi route sections to statically indicate admissible taxiways to pilots and drivers.

SMAN is operational at Incheon International Airport, Korea and has been tested successfully in field trials at Frankfurt Airport.


Airbus ProSky and ATRiCS share a common goal for improving the efficiency of our airport and aviation systems,” said Wolfgang Hatzack, Chief Executive Officer of ATRiCS. “Our deployments in Incheon, Kuala Lumpur, Dubai, Frankfurt, Zurich and Düsseldorf demonstrate the safety and cost benefits for the global aviation industry with Airbus ProSky.

Eric Stefanello, Chief Executive Officer of Airbus ProSky said: "Airbus ProSky is bringing together intelligent ATM components which offer the highest level of performance improvements.” He added: “ATRiCS is a proven leader and innovator in advanced artificial intelligence to assist controllers, and we are delighted to have them as part of our team.

With Airbus ProSky we are harnessing the competencies both within Airbus and also from the wider EADS group, to help transform ATM services across the European Union, the US and other countries globally,” says Eric Stefanello, President of Airbus ProSky. “We are complementing the existing skills and business of ATM manufacturers and ANSPs by partnering with key industry players to deliver a global ATM approach, and bring operational, commercial, and environmental benefits to the airline industry,” he added.

References: EADS (1), Airbus (2), Airport Technology (3)

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