Finland’s regional air navigation services are now provided by the Area Control Centre Finland located in Aitovuori, Tampere. Before this, the region was divided into airspaces handled by the Southern Finland Air Navigation Centre and the Northern Finland Air Navigation Centre. A single, uniform area control centre is now in charge of the entire Finnish flight information region, which consists of seven airspace sectors. The Area Control Centre Finland coordinates overflights in Finnish airspace and air route traffic between different airports.
“The equipment system update related to the merging of the area control centres has been a project of 25 years in total. Airport equipment systems, such as radars and digital data transmission, are now uniform. The update will be implemented at Helsinki-Vantaa in 2012,” says Pasi Nikama, manager, Area Control Centre Finland.
A single area control centre for more efficiency
Having a single area control centre will also ensure effective, customer-oriented service from now on. The change does not affect safety, but it provides airlines with more flexible flight routing in the Finnish flight information region.
Finland-wide area control is capable of handling a flight from Helsinki-Vantaa to Oulu in a more flexible and straightforward way than before. The flight is first controlled by the Helsinki-Vantaa air traffic control, then by the Area Control Centre Finland, and finally by the Oulu local / approach control. In the previous policy, part of the flight would have also been controlled by the Northern Finland Air Navigation Centre.
Area Control Centre Finland has 70 air traffic controllers, which is approximately the same number as Finavia’s Helsinki-Vantaa airport.
Finland in the Single European Sky project
The new operating model, based on a single area control centre, is in line with the development of international legislation on air navigation services. The EU’s Single European Sky (SES) regulation also requires that Finavia operates as cost-effectively as possible and develops its services, which also means a structural change of services.
The North European Functional Airspace Block (NEFAB) project is the primary means of improving airspace efficiency. According to EU requirements, the project aims to establish a uniform airspace block in Northern Europe by the end of 2012. In addition to the Nordic countries, Estonia and Latvia are involved in the project.
The European airspace will be considered as more extensive blocks as a result of future development projects. This means that it will be possible for providing airlines with more effective routing and more flexible services when moving between countries.
The main purpose of the NEFAB project is to decrease air traffic delays and costs, to improve efficiency and save the environment. The project is like a puzzle made of the respective air traffic control units of different countries, and the pieces must fit well.
Finavia is actively involved in influencing the future and development of air navigation in international forums. Finavia wants to influence the future of European and Finnish air navigation services.