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Digital clearance technology streamlines departures in NZ

23 July 2015

Airways New Zealand has this week introduced digital departure clearances, with the use of this latest technology bringing clear benefits for its airline customers.

Digital Departure Clearance (DCL) is the first operational use of data link technology between aircrew and air traffic controllers within New Zealand's domestic air traffic management environment.

Chief Operating Officer Pauline Lamb says that DCL improves safety and efficiency as well as standardising procedures.

"DCL decreases radio time for pilots and controllers in dealing with critical but often routine radio communications. It also reduces the potential for operational errors caused by language difficulties, and mirrors the systems used in many other countries around the world," says Lamb.

By replacing many verbal interactions between pilot and controller, DCL eliminates much of the potential for misunderstandings. The system sends digital messages that include Standard Instrument Departure, transition and route instructions for a departing flight and confirmation of the current weather report (ATIS). Automation confirms the receipt of messages or alerts users to malfunctions, removing a significant amount of the manual administration previously required.

The first operational digital Departure Clearance was requested by NZ282 and issued by Auckland Tower at 11:28pm Wednesday 22 July.

The service is now in use for flights departing from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch that have a compatible (ED85a) communication system.

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