A new three dimensional air traffic control simulator was unveiled yesterday by the Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS) company at its training academy at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg.
Minister of Transport Sibusiso Ndebele and ATNS CEO Patrick Dlamini were present at the ceremony. ATNS trains Air Traffic Controllers (ATCs) from South Africa as well as controllers from other sovereign states within the African continent and the African Indian Ocean Area. ATNS is the sole provider of air traffic, navigation, training and associated services within South Africa and is responsible for 10% of the world’s airspace.
In the past ATNS made use of the 2D Aerodrome simulator for training at its Aviation Training Academy. However, the Aerodrome simulator stopped working in 2009 due to hardware obsolescence.
“ATNS has over the past few years, identified the need for a high technology aviation equipment, to allow for the effective and cost efficient training of Air Traffic Controllers,” the company said yesterday.
It entered into partnership with Airways New Zealand to facilitate the Aerodrome Simulator skills and technology transfer. Under the partnership agreement, Airways developed the software to fulfil the user requirements, while ATNS supplied the hardware manufactured as well as the hardware procured in South Africa. ATNS also acquired a license allowing installations of additional 3D Aerodrome Simulators at other ATNS sites within South Africa.
“We are able to recreate any airport terrain in the world and simulate virtually any flight conditions or operational difficulties to prepare our candidates for the real thing,” Dlamini said. “This paves the way for South Africa to become a centre of air traffic controller training excellence in Africa.”
“Software knowledge transfer is scheduled to take place during this month, October 2011,” Ndebele said. “Three ATNS representatives are scheduled to travel to New Zealand to work with the Airways team on the Airspace, Vehicle, and Aircraft model development. ATNS representatives will then be responsible to independently develop additional airspaces such as King Shaka (KSIA) and Cape Town international airport.”
ATNS also acquired a licence allowing installations of additional 3D Aerodrome Simulators at other ATNS sites within South Africa and also in the Southern African region. As it has a software license, only hardware would be required.
“With South Africa focusing on economic growth, Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) has done much in striving to make sure that the South African aviation industry remains at an upward trend, despite global market threats and uncertainty,” Ndebele said. “A lot of work has been done at the OR Tambo and Cape Town International Airports in readiness for expected growth in our aviation industry.”
Ndebele highlighted some achievements in the aviation industry, such as the fact that Durban’s King Shaka International Airport has moved five million passengers in its first year of operation and that the air industry generates more than 470 000 jobs across Africa and contributes US$12 billion to the continent’s GDP.
“In Africa, air transport continues to be a primary means of communicating with remote areas, providing relief from natural disasters, transporting humanitarian aid, assisting and supporting peacekeeping efforts,” the minister said. “Whilst questions remain about the sustainability of many of the smaller airlines, the fact remains that aviation is becoming more and more accessible to ordinary people, and we can be assured that passenger numbers will continue to grow significantly in the near future.”
Ndebele said that Cabinet had approved an Airlift Strategy to improve South African airlines’ international competitiveness, thereby growing South Africa’s share of the international transport market and meeting the tourism and trade sectors’ requirements for cost-effective and efficient air services.