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Belgium to use single system for air traffic control

Air traffic control authority Skeyes. Credit: Skeyes

A single management system will replace the three air traffic control systems currently in place in Belgium from 2027 in what is seen as a “breakthrough move” in air traffic control.

Once implemented, the Shared Air Traffic Services System 3 or SAS3 promises to make air traffic control over the country “even safer and more efficiently,” according to Eurocontrol, the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation.

“The fact that Belgium – the host country of Eurocontrol’s headquarters – takes this important step towards the Single European Sky concept of ATM data service provision is highly symbolic,” Eamonn Brennan, Eurocontrol’s Director-General, said on Monday.

The main benefit lies in the real-time exchange of air traffic data between civil and military air traffic controllers that will not only increase efficiency but “will also result in fewer delays and greenhouse gas emissions.”

Belgian air traffic control services are currently provided by three independent organisations, including skeyes, which manages air traffic at the Belgian airports and in the airspace up to about 7,500 metres, Netherlands-based MUAC, which controls traffic in the upper airspace, and the Ministry of Defence, which deals with all military air traffic at and around the military airports.

Both the Ministry of Defence and MUAC are already using a joint ATC system, known as the Shared Air Traffic Services System 2 (SAS2).

“Our positive experience with SAS2 – with special attention to the functionalities specific to the military – will certainly contribute to a successful implementation. This strategic and operational choice confirms current and future civil-military cooperation,” the Belgian Ministry of Defence said.

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