Air Traffic Management System Expert Panel holds first meeting

     The Air Traffic Management System (ATMS) Expert Panel held its first meeting today (December 16).      

     "I would like to thank the local and overseas expert panel members for sparing the time to join the meeting today. The Civil Aviation Department (CAD) briefed members on the design and functionality of the new ATMS, preparation for the transition of the system, operations since its commissioning, issues encountered and the solutions," said the Chairman of the Expert Panel and Director-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), Mr Simon Li. 

     "Given the complexity of the new ATMS, expert panel members noted that it is inevitable and understandable to encounter some special or unforeseen situations in the initial stage of full commissioning. Any ATMS, regardless of the brand, would encounter this situation and there have been similar experiences overseas. The most important point is that the CAD has established an effective mechanism to cope with different situations. Concerning this point, the expert panel considered that the responding mechanism of the CAD over the past month was on a par with international practice," he added.

     Apart from drawing on overseas experience, the most important thing is that all ATMSs must go through stringent tests. They can only be launched after meeting the international standards set out by the International Civil Aviation Organization and being adapted to local operational needs, as has been the case in Hong Kong.

     The CAD also informed the expert panel members of the standby arrangement of the old ATMS. The two overseas experts possessing extensive Air Traffic Control (ATC) experience noted that the standby arrangement in Hong Kong is in line with the practice of large-scale ATMS transition in other countries.   

     Mr Li said, "It was the first meeting of the expert panel. Expert panel members got a preliminary understanding of the new ATMS. There are a number of follow-up tasks ahead to further explore ways to speed up the optimisation process of the system. The expert panel has set out the work plan in the coming year. Tentatively, it was agreed that the second meeting would be held at the end of next month. Other stakeholders, including the CAD's frontline staff, for example ATC staff and electronics engineers, will be invited to join the meeting and to share their views on the optimisation process. The CAD will make public the views and work progress of the expert panel from time to time. It is expected that the expert panel will make a preliminary report in March or April, 2017."

     The five-member expert panel comprises local representatives including Mr Warren Chim, Mr Albert Lam and Professor Man Hau-chung, while overseas representatives include the President of the National School of Civil Aviation in France, Mr Marc Houalla, and the Chairman of the International Civil Aviation Organization Regional Air Traffic Management Sub-Group, Mr Kuah Kong Beng. Mr Lam and Mr Kuah, who are currently not in Hong Kong, joined the meeting via tele-conference.

     The expert panel's terms of reference are to provide objective expert advice to the DGCA on teething issues arising from the commissioning of the new ATMS and the necessary optimisation work; and to share with the CAD international experience and best practices in relation to the long-term optimisation of new ATMS. The members are appointed for a one-year term till November 30, 2017.

     Please refer to the gist of remarks (Chinese only) made by the DGCA at a media session after the first meeting of the expert panel.

Ends/Friday, December 16, 2016
Issued at HKT 20:53