NAV Canada is to upgrade existing air traffic control (ATC) systems in Canada in a $1.3bn deal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve airspace capacity.

The upgrade involves the installation of a new GPS satellite-surveillance system that allows 16 flights to occupy the same airspace. It aims to increase capacity and offer more direct routes with fewer delays.

In January 2009, Nav Canada installed the automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) system in Hudson Bay, which allows air-traffic controllers to separate aircraft by 5nm for fuel-efficient routing.

More ADS-B systems are expected to be installed in the eastern Arctic and southern Greenland in 2010.

The new system could save up to $50m in fuel costs and result in a 131,000t reduction in greenhouse gas emissions over the next eight years.