Eurocontrol will present the business case for Mode S enhanced surveillance to airlines at a workshop later this month.

European Mode S requirements call for the carriage and operation of Mode S transponders for new aircraft from January 2001, with all aircraft to be equipped by 2005.

Europe is moving from secondary surveillance radar (SSR) to Mode S, as the existing SSR will soon be unable to cope safely and efficiently with continually increasing traffic in the core area of Europe, says the European air navigation organisation.

The Mode S requirement is intended to improve air traffic management capacity and safety in the high density airspace, by using selective interrogation and downlinked aircraft parameters (DAPs). Mode S implementation is part of Eurocontrol's European Air Traffic Management Programme (EATMP), which is aimed at introducing safety, capacity and efficiency improvements in European airspace.

Although airlines have accepted the business case for the new system, there has been industry concern on Mode S enhanced surveillance, which requires the downlinking of speed, heading and rate of descent information from the aircraft to the air traffic controller.

Eurocontrol presented the Mode S business case to airlines last year, but airline associations were not convinced by the operational benefits of DAPs.

Eurocontrol has since conducted a number of studies and simulations to establish tangible benefits of Mode S enhanced surveillance. "We are trying to give them [airlines] the facts and back them up with evidence," says Eurocontrol.

At the workshop, which will take place on 29 and 30 April in Brussels, the air navigation organisation aims to resolve airline concerns regarding "architectural issues" in equipping their aircraft to downlink parameters. Eurocontrol has been working closely with several airlines, including British Airways, on installation issues, says the organisation.

Source: Flight International