Ukraine's air navigation service has become the first to introduce a new assignment system aimed at overcoming an increasing shortage of aircraft transponder squawk codes.
The navigation service, UkSATSE, has put in place the Centralised Code Assignment and Management System (CCAMS), which operates from a server hosted by pan-European air navigation organisation Eurocontrol.
Thirteen other countries are set to put CCAMS in place this year.
Squawk codes have previously been "statically" allocated to individual countries and assigned to aircraft by the air navigation service under a specific procedure.
But the limitations of the squawk coding mean this mechanism is leading to a shortage of codes at peak times.
"This problem will become more acute with the expected increase in traffic," said Eurocontrol.
Under the new CCAMS concept the centralised operation assigns a deconflicted code to each flight in the region. It selects the code automatically and distributes it to all air traffic units along the flight route.
Eurocontrol claims that this method "guarantees the most efficient use of codes" across the air traffic network in Europe.
Ukraine's implementation will be followed by similar changes in Albania, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Lithuania, Moldova, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Turkey and the UK.
Source: Flight International