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Commencement of phased functional implementation of New Air Traffic Management System (with photo)

     The phased functional implementation (PFI) of the New Air Traffic Management System (ATMS) of the Civil Aviation Department (CAD) commenced yesterday (June 19). In the initial stage of the PFI, the new ATMS will support the operations of certain control positions in the Air Traffic Control (ATC) Tower during specified periods. Its operational scope and service coverage will be progressively expanded in the coming five months or so. It is expected that the new ATMS will be fully commissioned by October/November 2016, replacing the existing system in full.

     The Secretary for Transport and Housing (STH), Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung said, "In launching the new ATC System, the primary concern of the Government is aviation safety. The new system can enhance the CAD's capability in air traffic management and handle the projected air traffic increase to be brought by the development of the Three-Runway System (3RS) of the Hong Kong International Airport in future. The new ATMS is the last system contract of the new ATC System. The commencement of its PFI marks another milestone for the air transport development in Hong Kong."

     The new ATMS is designed to meet the latest international standards on technical, safety and ATC operational requirements. The CAD has conducted stringent acceptance tests on the new ATMS on a par with international aviation safety management standards and established Government procedures, in order to ensure that the system operation is in full compliance with the contract conditions and safety management requirements. The Transport and Housing Bureau appointed the UK-based National Air Traffic Services (NATS) last November as an independent consultant to advise the STH on system readiness and staff readiness. According to the consultant's assessment, the system engineering is safe, stable and reliable, and on a par with good practice in ATC centres in other jurisdictions, such as the UK and Singapore. The consultant suggested a PFI of the new ATC System to allow more time for ATC staff to familiarise themselves with the system's functions and operations, and to minimise the risk of providing full functional services during the typhoon season.

     The Director-General of Civil Aviation, Mr Simon Li, said, "The CAD decided to launch the new ATMS incrementally after conducting a careful and detailed review of the system and the staff, and by making reference to the suggestion made by the independent consultant and to overseas experience of other major international airports. This step-by-step, incremental approach is similar to the arrangement for implementing the existing ATMS in 1998 when the airport was moved from Kai Tak to Chek Lap Kok."

     The CAD's new ATC System is implemented through a total of eight system contracts. Except for the new ATMS, seven system contracts have been completed and commissioned in phases since 2013 and have been running smoothly. Within the coming five months or so, the CAD will continue to conduct more shadowing tests with the new ATMS. It will be used to support other control positions, with an aim to progressively expand its scope of operation and service coverage. Upon full commissioning, the new ATMS is able to handle 8 000 flight plans per day and can simultaneously monitor 1 500 air or ground targets (5 times and 1.5 times the existing system respectively), making it fully capable of coping with air traffic growth under 3RS operation in future.

Ends/Monday, June 20, 2016
Issued at HKT 14:00


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