A new era
This is transforming how controllers manage air traffic over the North Atlantic.
For starters, thanks to the constant visibility and improved control, aircraft can now fly at far more efficient separation distances.
Reducing the space between aircraft from c.40nm to 14nm means more aircraft can share the fastest, most environmentally friendly routes. And the new tracking means that’s done more safely than ever before.
For decades, aircraft have been held at fixed speeds, levels and routes above the North Atlantic. But why does that make such a difference?
Higher altitudes are often more efficient to fly through. Slower speeds usually burn less fuel. Flying faster could help you beat a delay.
Crucially, space-based ADS-B gives air traffic controllers the flexibility to clear aircraft at the most cost-effective levels and the most efficient routes. It also gives pilots the freedom to vary their speed based on what is most beneficial to them at any given time.
Real-time tracking and reduced separation distances are helping both Shanwick - managed by NATS at Prestwick Centre, and Gander - managed by NAV CANADA - to reduce the entire footprint of the Oceanic Track Structure. In future, almost all traffic will be routing freely, with very few ‘motorways’ needed to guide the aircraft.