Saab’s new state-of-the-art Integrated ATC Suite platform is transforming modern air traffic control


Air traffic control (ATC) is a vital part of facilitating seamless and safe air traffic flow at South African airports, which, according to Airports Company South Africa’s 2020 Integrated Report, totalled 248 519 landings between 2019 and 2020.

As the number of aircraft movements increases, it becomes more challenging and demanding for air traffic controllers to maintain their workload at an appropriate level while ensuring their situational awareness isn’t compromised.

Saab’s Integrated ATC Suite (I-ATS) is a scalable and flexible platform for tower and approach controllers that enables them to manage traffic flow safely and efficiently with a comprehensive set of tools.

It forms part of Saab’s widely deployed ATC automation products, which have digitalised and automated air traffic management (ATM) in more than 40 countries. The system currently guides two million aircraft movements each month (24% of the world’s flights).

The I-ATS is built on Service-Oriented Architecture principles, allowing for customisation of the platform to meet the needs of large and small operators alike. The system can be deployed as several different products, including Advanced Surface Movement Guidance and Control System (A-SMGCS)and Electric Flight Strips and can include some or all of the I-ATS capabilities.

“Automation solutions like the I-ATS in ATM provide controllers with more accurate information in real time, which leads to an improvement in safety, efficiency and situational awareness,” says Paballo Motoboli, Marketing & Business Development Executive at Saab, South Africa.

“With the I-ATS, ATC operations can be fully automated, and air traffic can be controlled for improved efficiency. Best of all, the system records every step and process, allowing traffic controllers to analyse their operations and improve them accordingly,” he adds.

Saab Air Traffic Control.

An integral feature of Saab’s I-ATS is its highly configurable Controller Working Position (CWP). Developed in close coordination with end-users, the system’s Human Machine Interface primarily focuses on ensuring simplicity and enhancing a seamless workflow with all integrated systems.

The CWP consists of several configurable displays, including a Traffic Display for controlling movements at the airport surface and on approach, fully compliant with ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation) and Eurocontrol safety level requirement.

The system’s scalable architecture also allows it to be expanded with additional functionality over time, making it easy to adapt to changing air traffic control requirements.

Saab’s I-ATS has proven its capabilities in some of the busiest airports across the world and the system has been deployed in Sweden, Ireland, and Turkey.

The system has been in place in Istanbul Airport for the last four years, where under normal conditions it manages 1,400 flights per day, along five runways and 150 taxiways, with aircraft parked in 270 bays. It is adaptable enough that it has supported the airport’s air traffic control team with the addition of two new sets of runways since 2018, with the system’s architecture helping the teams adapt seamlessly.

“New tools create excitement in the workforce, and our teams are proud to be working in the most modern towers in the world,” says Ismail Polat, chief planning officer at Istanbul Airport. “Saab’s I-ATS has seen the airport increase traffic throughput through better collaboration. Furthermore, it records every moment of the day, which helps teams learn from errors and adapt to new conditions.”

It has proven its capability to enable safer and more efficient operations at air sites across the world by improving air traffic controllers’ situational awareness and their ability to control and monitor entire air traffic operations.

For more information about Saab’s Integrated Air Traffic Control Suite, visit