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Skyguide Adopts Electronic Coordination to Further Modernise its Swiss Air Traffic Management Services

6 November 2013

Skyguide is to introduce "electronic coordination" at its two area control centres in the next few weeks. The new procedure will be adopted at the Area Control Centre (ACC) of Geneva on the night of 4-5 November and at the Zurich ACC on the night of 9-10 December. The new electronic coordination - one of the most important developments in Swiss air traffic management in the last 30 years - marks a further milestone in skyguide's "Stripless" project to gradually replace the paper strips used to record and pass on flight and aircraft information with electronic solutions. This release also includes a new safety feature (EHS-CLAM) to monitor flying altitudes. 

Sector-to-sector handovers at the click of a mouse 
The new electronic coordination enables controllers now to hand over a flight from one sector to another at the click of a mouse without the need for telephonic coordination. This will largely reduce the workload, limit a source of potential errors, and will thus further enhance not just the efficiency but also the safety level of skyguide's ATM activities. 

This second release of the new stripless system will also further enhance the electronic monitoring of flight levels. To this end, the release includes a new "Cleared Level Adherence Monitoring based on Enhanced Mode S" or EHS-CLAM function, which alerts the controller in case of a divergence between the selected altitude in the cockpit and the cleared flight level in the control centre. This new safety feature will ensure that working errors of the cockpit crew or air traffic control are detected and corrected, potential infringements of the separation minima avoided earlier, and safety level further increased. The "CLAM" function has been in operation in a first release since early 2012. What is new in this second release is that enhanced Mode S data (which provide more extensive information on the flights concerned) as well as an automatic alert are now integrated into the system. 

This refinement responds also to a safety recommendation following an incident which occurred on 10 June 2011 and which has been investigated by the Swiss Accident Investigation Board (SAIB). Skyguide is constantly working on the development of measures and processes to increase safety in the airspace under its responsibility. With the introduction of the EHS-CLAM function, the Swiss air navigation services take on a pioneering role and position themselves at the forefront of European air traffic control. 

Reduced capacity during adoption period 
Skyguide will be reducing its sector capacity on the nights of the adoption of the new release - 4-5 November and 9-10 December - and for a few days thereafter. Additional personnel will be rostered for duty throughout these periods, however, to minimise the impact of such capacity reductions on flight operations. Skyguide has also informed its customers and further partners in good time of all these developments. Once the release has been successfully adopted, capacity will be gradually restored to its usual levels. 



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