Air Transport World

ICAO looks to space. (International Civil Aviation Organization sees communication, navigation and surveillance functions should be satellite-based in the future)

MONTREAL-The world aviation community has agreed that the future air transportation system must be satellite based for provision of its communication, navigation and surveillance (CNS) functions (ATW 11/91). The strong endorsement of the proposed CNS system concept contained in the final report of the loth Air Navigation Conference at ICAO headquarters here will help assure implementation.

Admittedly, the system concept that was put together by ICAO's Future Air Navigation Committee is no panacea but it is a good start toward helping to improve worsening airport/airways congestion. One flight in five in Europe is delayed more than 15 min. at a cost to airlines and their passengers estimated to be in excess of $3 billion annually. in the U.S., unscheduled delays consume the equivalent of a fleet of 500 airplanes and in Asia, the problems are growing faster than anywhere else. The cost of ATC system delays to airlines and commercial aviation users is some $10 billion per year. A 10% reduction of congestion and air-traffic control-related costs resulting from delay would offset the annual cost of implementing the proposed global Future Air Navigation System (FANS). Annual capital, operating and maintenance costs of the FANS were estimated at about $1 billion a year. But the report also noted that this will be obviated by phasing out obsolete elements of the existing system.

Of greater importance is the belief that a gain of $5.2-6.6 billion a year will be achieved through improved efficiency in the routing and handling of aircraft. The consensus reported is for a clear and significant benefit to the airlines, particularly in North America and Europe.

A most interesting result consistently reported is that the net benefits of the new system that could accrue to airspace users far outweigh benefits to civil-aviation administrations. …

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