Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Taiwan launches new generation air traffic control system

Taipei, Oct.5 (CNA) Flight safety and service quality will be greatly improved with the introduction of a new generation air traffic control system, Minister of Transportation Mao Chi-Kuo said Wednesday at the inauguration ceremony. The new network employs is a global positioning system (GPS) instead of the traditional ground-based navigation infrastructure, which will make air traffic management easier and more efficient, said Mao said at the Northern Taiwan Air Navigation and Weather Services in Taoyuan.

One of the advantages of the new system is that it has shifted from manual to automatic operations, allowing for more precise coordination of aircraft performance, flight information, weather conditions and runway usage, he said. In other words, he said, an optimal landing sequence can be decided in advance, thus reducing flight delays, traffic congestion and fuel consumption, he said. Flight safety will also be improved with the advanced satellite and digital communication technology that can more accurately locate aircraft, he said. With the new system, the distance between landing flights could be reduced from 30-50 nautical miles to less than 15 nautical miles, according to the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA).

"A smoother flight control system means we can work more closely with other regional aviation hubs such as Fukuoka, Manila, Shanghai and Hong Kong," said Jean Shen, director of the CAA's Air Navigation and Weather Services. The network, which took NT$4.4 billion (US$144.3 million) and more than 10 years to build, is the first of its kind in East Asia, Shen said. For air traffic controller Mao Hsiu-ju, a modern control center with the most up-to-date equipment means, among other things, a better working environment.

"We no longer need to spend all day in a dim room, with our eyes fixed on the radar," said the 40-year-old who has worked for 18 years in that job. "I used to feel like 'the lady in the tower,' but I think with the new system I won't feel like that anymore."

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