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NATS and EUROCONTROL Accomplish the First Operational AMHS Triangle in Europe Using COMSOFT’s AIDA-NG

20 November 2013

EUROCONTROL and British ANSP NATS have successfully set into operation two new AMHS connections over the Pan-European Network Service (PENS) using COMSOFT’s market-leading AIDA-NG at both ends. The new links are considered an important milestone for the AMHS and the use of PENS in Europe. 

NATS has been operating COMSOFT’s universal message handling solution since 2004 and set the precedent when achieving Europe’s transatlantic AMHS link to the USA in 2011, followed by the interregional link to the Asia/Pacific Region of Singapore shortly afterwards. The fundamental links between the NATS COM Centre in Swanwick and the two EUROCONTROL COM Centres in Haren (close to Brussels) and Brétigny-sur-Orge (close to Paris) form the first operational AMHS triangle in Europe. 

These new links also support 15% of EUROCONTROL’s total operational messaging traffic, including the transmission of Flight Plans, SSR, CCAMS (Centralised SSR Code Assignment and Management System), along with Air Traffic Flow and Capacity Management messages to Area Control Centres. The successful completion of the joint project between EUROCONTROL and NATS now forms the central piece of the European AMHS puzzle. With the establishment of the new AMHS links, EUROCONTROL Network Manager (NM) can commence the international exchange of messages using the AMHS. 

It also allows the interregional AMHS island, initiated by NATS, to grow significantly, expanding to the centre of Europe as, with two major links now migrated to AMHS, messages to a wide range of destinations including Canada, USA, Northern Europe, as well as States in the South Pacific and the Far East are now supported. 

COMSOFT’s AIDA-NG has already proved its outstanding interoperability and stability in numerous other operational AMHS connections, verifying its capability to remain a technological driver of the new communication standard. Many countries around the globe already benefit from the outstanding messaging solution supplied by the German ATM specialist. 

Due to the limited capabilities of AFTN/CIDIN, ICAO introduced the ATS Message Handling System (AMHS) as the new messaging standard. The increased functionality of AMHS utilises modern IP-based networks and allows the exchange of XML based data formats like digital NOTAMs, characterising it as an important tool for the future of Air Traffic Management.

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