A NEW air-traffic management (ATM) system for the Russian Far East, which will bring huge savings for airlines operating in the North Pacific, could be fully operational by August 1997.
The programme is designed to open up at least three more routes through Russian airspace north of the existing North Pacific oceanic track system (NOPAC).
Those routes will permit shorter Great Circle tracks between North America and the Far East, and let pilots avoid the worst of the westerly jetstreams, which afflict the NOPAC region.
The proposed schedule was released by consultancy Booz Allen & Hamilton at the Adam Smith Institute's Air Transport in the Former Soviet Union conference in Vienna, on 15-16 February.
Booz's director of ATM, Bob Hawley, says that the Russian plan, which his company is helping formulate, calls for the issuance of a tender for a single turn-key contract in six months' time, followed by a 60-day response period and award 120 days later.
Hawley believes that the emphasis on using off-the-shelf equipment will allow limited operational capability in nine months' time and full operational capability after a further nine months.
The project has a promise of some funding, from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, but a crucial feature of it is, that it can be, substantially paid for, by user fees from international carriers. Northwest Airlines, for example, estimates that its inability to use Russian airspace costs it $80 million a year on the North Pacific route.
Phase II of the Booz study, sponsored by the US Trade and Development Agency, begins on 24 February and will encompass detailed engineering specifications.
Hawley stresses, however, that the ATM system will be compatible with the Future Air Navigation System.
Source: Flight International