Air Traffic Management System Expert Panel holds third meeting
During the meeting, the CAD updated the expert panel members on the latest developments of implementing satellite-based Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B) technology in the Hong Kong Flight Information Region (HKFIR). With the progressive introduction of ADS-B in Hong Kong, the expert panel members noted that improvements have been seen in the display issues of aircraft positions on the radar screens (in regard to occurrences such as the phenomena of split tracks and aircraft positions not being displayed temporarily on the radar screens). The expert panel members were satisfied with the progress of and improvement brought about by the implementation of ADS-B. At present, the Air Traffic Control Officers (ATCOs) can obtain both radar and ADS-B information on flights within the HKFIR at the same working position. The expert panel members advised the CAD to continue monitoring the performance of ADS-B closely and gauging more views from the frontline ATCOs for a full implementation of ADS-B progressively in 2017 to further enhance the display of aircraft positions.
With regard to the issue that the radar screens were unable to display some of the flight information, the expert panel members agreed that the aviation safety was not undermined as the ATCOs could keep direct communications with the pilots at all times during those occurences to ascertain the aircraft position and altitude. They were informed that the contractor of the new ATMS delivered a new software fix to the CAD last Thursday (February 16) for site acceptance testing, which would help address the issue. The new software fix is expected to be launched by the end of March after relevant tests and assessment are completed. The CAD will give an update to the expert panel on the progress during the process.
The expert panel was also invited to review the operations and the performance of the Arrival Manager System (AMAN). The AMAN used to be independent of the old ATMS, but the new ATMS enhanced the AMAN’s functions and incorporated it as a sub-system. The expert panel members agreed that the AMAN was a tool to provide an arrival sequence of arrival flights to ATCOs automatically and not intended as a tool for ensuring standard separation between aircraft. The ATCOs had handled the landing sequence according to the default in-trail spacing during the recent temporary hiccups of the AMAN and the technical staff had helped restore the services of the AMAN within a short period of time. Having reviewed the information above, the expert panel members were of the view that the CAD had put in place an effective and established mechanism for responding to different situations occurring after the full commissioning of the new ATMS in accordance with international best practices and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)'s safety management process. The expert panel members were satisfied with the actions taken by the CAD in view of the hiccups of the AMAN to ensure overall smooth operation of the ATMS and they urged the CAD to continue working closely with the contractors concerned to identify the root cause of the occurrences and formulate a long-term plan so as to further optimise the performance of the AMAN. The expert panel will be briefed on the progress in future.
In addition, the CAD also discussed the recent media reports on the loss of standard separation incidents with the expert panel members. The expert panel members noted that the CAD, in accordance with international practice, has established procedures to conduct investigation on all loss of standard separation incidents, follow up on the cases in a timely manner and make necessary improvement measures. The incidents and investigation results are regularly reviewed by the Air Traffic Safety Assessment Committee, as well as the flight and aviation safety experts from the airlines. The expert panel members were of the view that the categorisation and handling procedures on the loss of standard separation incidents of the CAD are on par with international practice. Based on relevant safety performance statistics in the past two years presented by the CAD, the expert panel members were of the view that all the incidents had no impact on aviation safety. Relevant statistics also surpassed international indicators. Nevertheless, the expert panel members suggested the CAD continue closely monitoring safety performance of the new ATMS.
Before the meeting, the CAD arranged the expert panel members to meet with the management pilots of the major local airlines and the Government Flying Service. Upon the request of the expert panel members to share their views on the operations of the new ATMS, the management pilots noted that the transition of the ATMS was a huge challenge on organisational and cultural changes. They considered the CAD had overcome the challenge effectively with professional expertise and experience.
While concluding the meeting today, the expert panel members considered that safety performance of the new ATMS, so far, continued to exceed international requirements. The CAD was urged to continue to optimise the system as well as the operating procedures, with a view to enabling the system to achieve and exceed the international requirements in a consistent manner.
All the expert panel members attended the meeting today, including local representatives Mr Warren Chim, Mr Albert Lam and Professor Man Hau-chung, as well the President of the National School of Civil Aviation in France, Mr Marc Houalla, and the Chairman of the ICAO Asia Pacific Regions Air Traffic Management Sub-Group, Mr Kuah Kong Beng, as overseas representatives.
The expert panel's terms of reference are to provide objective and expert advice to the Director-General of Civil Aviation 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 have been appointed for a one-year term till November 30, 2017. The expert panel members will submit an interim report in March or April after collating and summing up all the information from the first three meetings.
Ends/Monday, February 20, 2017
Issued at HKT 22:15
Issued at HKT 22:15