The NATS control center in Prestwick, Scotland, and Nav Canada’s control center in Gander, Newfoundland, last week announced a number of ATC technology enhancements and updated procedures for the North Atlantic. The technology, originally installed in Gander and operational in Prestwick since earlier last week, is known as the Gander Automated Air Traffic System (GAATS+), an update to the original GAATS.
Using GAATS+, air traffic controllers now operate with improved coordination through the exchange of messages using automation that also integrates a series of safety net tools such as conflict prediction and conflict alert. The new technology also provides controllers with a snapshot of current and planned traffic as well as available route profiles that allow controllers to identify an aircraft’s preferred route and provide a conflict-free clearance.
John Crichton, president and CEO of Nav Canada, said the new system “includes the seamless integration of ground-based ADS-B surveillance features in GAATS+ which will serve as the basis for the satellite-based ADS-B services offered by Aireon in 2018.”
Plans are already in the works to introduce other airspace initiatives such as reduced lateral separation minimums.