Australian Strategic Air Traffic Management Group
The topic I would like to talk about today is the development of the regulatory plan and aircraft equipment mandates in support the future ATM system.
I would also like to take the opportunity of acknowledging and thanking the Australian Strategic Air Traffic Management Group (ASTRA) for the lead it has taken in providing the technical advice and the industry consensus that has greatly assisted CASA in developing the detail of our mandates.
ASTRA Members will recall that CASA, in response to the Government’s Aviation White Paper issued two discussion papers on the aircraft equipage needed to provide the interoperability with the new technology systems that Airservices Australia is rolling out for ATM.
These papers proposed a regulatory plan for Navigation and Surveillance over the decade to year 2020 in a phased upgrade.
The papers were developed not only in response to the Government’s White Paper, but also to alignment with the vision statements for navigation and surveillance that were produced by the respective ASTRA Working Groups.
CASA supported the ASTRA outcomes on the technology upgrades as it is clear to us that the future ATM system for Australia will bring about significant efficiency and safety gains by the implementation of satellite based primary means navigation and dependent surveillance using ground-air-ground data-links with the Mode S radar and ADS-B technologies.
I acknowledge that Airservices Australia, with industry support through ASTRA, has been at the forefront of world-wide take-up and implementation of those technology advances, which required dedicated effort and cooperation in the understanding the technical and operational advantages as well as the safety critical issues which always come with any major upgrade.
So, what was the industry’s position on the discussion papers?
CASA was aware that the key representative organisations of the industry, through their representation on the ASTRA meetings, were generally supportive of the proposals in the first discussion paper.
Responses to the papers confirmed that this was the case - albeit with a number of qualifications and suggestions for earlier timeframes for the transition to GNSS NAV.
The justification for TCAS II Version 7.1 in Australian airspace was also questioned by regional airline organisations, while comments from the VFR and the Sport and Recreational aviation sectors were broadly negative on future ADS-B requirements in airspace classes E and G for such aircraft.
In recognition of those views of the industry sectors, following further consultation in the ASTRA working groups and member organisations, CASA published a second revised discussion paper in October this year to further refine some of the aircraft CNS equipage proposals and to take account of the views and alternatives submitted by the industry - without impacting on existing levels of safety.
Most of you will be aware of the mandates proposed in that second discussion papers as your representatives were involved in their formulation. But to refresh, in brief the mandates are:
- GNSS NAV under the IFR; new IFR aircraft to be fitted by February 2014. Existing IFR aircraft to be fitted by February 2016. This change to satellite navigation will enable Airservices to decommission about 180 existing navaids that are not retained in the navaid back-up network.
- Forward fitment of Mode S transponders (with ADS-B capability) for aircraft first registered after February 2014. Existing exemptions will continue to apply to aircraft in Class E and G airspace that have no engine or have insufficient engine-driven electrical generation to power a transponder.
- Mode S transponder required for all operations at Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and Brisbane from February 2016 to provide for operation with the Advanced Surface Movement Guidance and Control Systems installed or being installed at those major aerodromes for surface surveillance.
- ADS-B equipage mandate for new IFR aircraft registered from February 2014 and for existing IFR aircraft by February 2017, and
- TCAS II version 7.1: Forward fitment for new turbine aircraft greater than 5,700kg or 19 passengers first registered after 1 January 2014. In keeping with the ICAO Annex 10 Standard.
The discussion paper also invited further industry comment on three other revised proposals for longer term future fitment of ADS-B and TCAS II 7.1 in existing aircraft:
- ADS-B to be fitted all aircraft operating in Class A, B, C, D, E airspace by January 2020 for electronic surveillance in all areas of controlled airspace for ATM. This parallels the similar FAA requirements in the USA.
- Exemptions may initially apply for Class D and E airspace for aircraft unable to power a transponder although by that time CASA expects that low or battery powered ADS-B transponders will be readily available at reasonable prices.
- Mandatory transponder carriage in Class D airspace after 1 January 2014 for improved ATM and TCAS detection particularly at regional aerodromes supporting RPT. Again, exemptions would initially apply.
As a result of the consultation undertaken, CASA has put on hold for at least four to fice years any ADS-B mandates affecting aircraft operating to the VFR in Class E and G airspace. But we will keep an eye on the situation in this airspace.
So that’s where we are right now. What are our next steps in getting those proposed mandates formally established?
I have asked my staff involved in that regulatory development work to give priority to completing the mandates, while maintaining our normal consultative processes for new regulatory material.
We have prepared the standards for aircraft Mode S transponders. Industry comments received to our NPRM have been analysed and we are aiming for a Notice of Final Rule Making by the end of this year.
The first NPRM supporting the ASTRA agreed aircraft avionics mandates should be released by early next year. That will provide a final avenue for industry comment.
We are aiming for the Notice of Final Rule Making before mid-2012.
We have received about 25 responses on three other revised proposals for longer term future fitment of ADS-B and TCAS II 7.1 in existing aircraft. Decision making and preparation of an NPRM on those mandates is planned in the second quarter of 2012 with a NFRM if the mandates are proceeded with by end – 2012.
I should note that for such significant equipage retrofits of existing aircraft - as distinct from newly registered aircraft - wherever possible CASA will always endeavour to provide industry with a minimum period of 4 to 5 years from publication of a mandate to the compliance date.
We recognise that there are equipment purchase costs, installation design requirements and limitations on the number of available avionics engineers to undertake installations.
However, I should mention one possible pressing exception may be necessary for the WA mandates – we may have to accept a shorter timeframe given the need to move quickly on the existing airspace congestion impact on air transport to and from the mining destinations.
In that regard, we need to quickly review and further consider the best way to deal with the WA airspace ADS-B mandate. This is a matter of some concern within the Aviation Policy Group (APG) right now and any proposals from ASTRA members would be welcome.
Which takes me to the role of the APG.
The Government looks to the APG – comprising the heads of the Department of Infrastructure and Transport, Airservices Australia, the Royal Australian Air Force and myself – to facilitate interaction and mutual understanding between government agencies on safety issues.
The Government has made it clear though that the APG in no way interferes or restricts the performance of these agencies in their respective roles.
However, inter-agency cooperation remains essential to implementing and achieving consistent air traffic policy. Although not a decision-making body, APG provides a forum for effective inter-agency policy coordination and for working through air traffic management and other aviation cross-agency issues at a strategic level.
In this context, and CASA regulatory development process, ASTRA serves a very useful purpose in encouraging debate between parts of the industry that have differing requirements and viewpoints who wouldn't otherwise be in regulator contact with one another.
However, a question that CASA has to deal with in our consultative processes is whether to accept input from ASTRA as being all of ASTRA membership when the ASTRA members can, and do, make separate input.
In closing I acknowledge the progressive industry approach and the extent of thought and effort that has gone into the vision statements produced within ASTRA on the technology upgrades.
That has been the advice that has greatly assisted CASA in establishing our corresponding regulatory plan.