New Air Traffic Control System to Secure Capacity Needed at Helsinki

A new electronic air traffic control system will be gradually implemented at Helsinki Airport. The aim is to ensure smooth and safe operations even when traffic volumes increase. This creates the basis for the airport’s capacity to serve air passengers as a world-class transit airport.

“The reform is aimed at creating a safe service, increasing capacity and improving air controllers’ job satisfaction and ergonomics. In this manner, we will strengthen Finavia’s positions as a strong airport agent. With regard to developing air traffic control systems, we are top European players, if not pioneers. Finavia’s strengths are training in the field of air navigation, flexible airspace solutions, air traffic control systems and planning these systems,” says Anne Ilola, director, air navigation operations.

Globally, the new system is the most modern in its class. In a unique way, it combines the aircraft route clearance from traffic control, permissions to move in the area and the status picture from the radar system. The integration of the system into the control of runway lights enables automatic control of the airfield lighting, which, in turn, provides our customers added safety.

The electronic air traffic control system, the so-called eSTRIP system, is used to control air traffic in the airport area, aircraft taxi clearances and vehicle traffic at the airport. Runways and taxiways must not be entered without permission from the traffic control, and these permissions will henceforth be managed with an electronic tool. The system replaces the old routines based on printed flight lists and enables even smoother and more effective traffic control at the main airport in Finland.

Vehicles moving in the airport area will be equipped with radio transmitters and a positioning system which will provide traffic control a real-time image with automatically updated identification of both aircraft and land vehicles.

A prequel to the implementation of the new system was the complete renovation of the aerodrome control tower in 2010. The working conditions and technical systems of the tower were renewed and the tower was fitted for the use of the eSTRIP system.

Finavia maintains a network of 25 airports in Finland and the air navigation system covering the entire country. During the first six months of 2011, the number of air passengers at Finavia’s airports has increased by 18% compared with the corresponding period the year before. Due to the increasing traffic between Europe and Asia, Finland has the most comprehensive offering of direct flights from Northern Europe to Asia and an extensive route network to various European locations.

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