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The Irish Aviation Authority and ISAVIA have implemented Full Unlimited Virtual Joint Operations

29 May 2017

The air navigation service providers of Ireland, The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) and Iceland, ISAVIA have implemented full unlimited virtual Joint Operations, which enables each Aeronautical Communications Centre to be fully interconnected.

The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) and ISAVIA has commenced full unlimited “Virtual” operations with the Rohde & Schwarz fully IP ED137 compliant VCS-4G Voice Communications Control System (VCCS), this enables the IAA & ISAVIA to become the World’s First “Cross Border” Aeronautical Communications Centre.

The Voice Communication System is located at the Irish Aviation Authority, North Atlantic Communications facility, Ballygirreen. ISAVIA with an identical Voice Switch at its communication facility at Gufunes, Iceland, will enable both Voice Communication Systems to operate as one Virtual Centre. The system will be used to provide aeronautical communications services, using HF, VHF and SATVOICE operations, in the Shanwick and the Reykjavik Oceanic Control area under Joint Operations with ISAVIAs “Iceland Radio” and the IAA’s “Shanwick Radio”.

Both areas in the North Atlantic represent one of the world’s most demanding operational ATC scenarios. Shanwick Radio provides a voice communication service in Eastern half of the North Atlantic which covers an area of approx. 2.0 million square kilometers and handles at peak times handles 1500 aircraft per day, with expected movements in excess of 500,000 for 2017. Iceland Radio, provides a voice communications service in the Reykjavik Oceanic Control Area which is among the largest in the world with approximately 5.4 million square kilometers, handling each year approximately 150,000 aircraft.

The concept of a virtual center allows both centres to be operated either independently from each other in stand-alone mode or, when connected with each other, in joint-operation mode, which will give operational staff access to all resources and functionality of either Voice Communications Switch.

Ásgeir Pálsson, Director of Air Navigation Services, Isavia said “ This is a significant step in a long standing process towards increased cooperation between the IAA and Isavia that has as its focus to bring safe, reliable and cost efficient services to our customers. Moreover, it demonstrates that large scale cross border service provision is achievable and practical. The increased robustness that this cooperation provides should serve as an example of how Air Navigation Service Providers can accomplish benefits for the aviation community by cooperating effectively.

Peter Kearney, Director ATM Operation & Strategy said “The IAA continuously introduces innovative ATM solutions which provides enhanced services to our customers and increases safety in our business, the virtual center concept will ensure business continuity by reassigning resources and supporting infrastructure in the event of a catastrophic facility failure either at Ballygirreen, Ireland or Gufunes, Iceland. This Communications Switch will also provide the necessary infrastructure to grow our business”

Voice over IP (VoIP) in line with EUROCAE ED-137 is the upcoming communications technology for Global Air Traffic Management, replacing obsolete TDM based systems. The fully IP-based R&S VCS-4G voice communications system adheres to this standard.

Beside the operational Voice Communications Switch, Rohde & Schwarz has provided the IAA with a test and validation system offering versatile environments to test, configure and validate configurations for the single and joint operation scenarios.


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