ONE OF THE most complex real-time air-traffic-control (ATC) simulations ever carried out by Eurocontrol is under way at the organisation's Bretigny-sur-Orge research centre near Paris.

The trials are for the new Magyar automated and integrated ATC system (Matias) under development for Hungary, which is undertaking a complete modernisation of its air-traffic infrastructure. The country has been under increasing air-traffic pressure since the end of the Cold War, with volume having increased threefold.

Hungary joined Eurocontrol in 1992, and has been one of the most determined of the former East European countries to upgrade its ATC system. It recently selected Siemens Plessey to supply a completely paperless, electronic system compatible with Eurocontrol's Eatchip ATC harmonisation and integration programme.

The project scheduled to come to fruition in two years' time, will be centred on a new unit at Budapest's Ferihegy Airport.

As well as the study of the Matias system, the simulation is also looking at proposals for civil/military co-ordination and a revised sectorisation of Hungarian airspace. "It is a very useful exercise to gain controller acceptance of the new technology, and will allow their ideas and suggestions to be incorporated into the final operational system," says project leader Andy Barff.

Three simulations of around 1h 30min are carried out daily using traffic samples which will reach the volumes predicted for the year 2002. Controller positions are furnished with Sony 2K x 2K screens, and a telecommunications panel, the only controller input device being a three-button mouse. The entire Budapest Flight Information Region is simulated, including the sectors of the new en route air traffic centre, the Budapest terminal manoeuvring area, and a military sector.

Hungarian air traffic has also increased because of the Bosnian conflict, which has led to the closure of air routes through Zagreb and Belgrade, and the diversion of traffic through Hungarian airspace. The simulation will study the post-war situation, when it will be possible to introduce more direct routes.

Source: Flight International