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Runway allocation system helps with smooth running of airport

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National Aerospace Laboratory NLR
: 11 April, 2008  (New Product)
Basel airport recently made a runway allocation advice system operation. Developed jointly by the National Aerospace Laboratory (NLR) and Air Traffic Control the Netherlands (LVNL), this system provides independent advice to air traffic controllers for allocating runways for take-off or landing.
Runway allocation by air traffic controllers depends not only on weather conditions, but also on runway availability, the degree of airport congestion and whether or not an Instrument Landing System (ILS) is available. The degree of noise pollution to the local community is another increasingly important factor in this process. In order to permit an objective runway selection to be made, the NLR and LVNL have developed the Runway Allocation Advice System (RAAS) that takes into account all of these factors.

The system is integrated in the Air traffic control tower, allowing air traffic controllers to obtain online advice on the preferred use of runways for take-off and landing. If the air traffic controller decides to deviate from the advice, a pop-up window will appear asking him or her for the reason for doing so. Air traffic control is not allowed to blindly follow the advice, informs an NLR spokesperson. “They have to follow the advice in an intelligent manner and examine it well,, but they do not have to verify it.”

Basel airport is located on the borders of Switzerland, France and Germany. They made a new ILS operational in November 2007, which was followed by more intensive use of the runways and approach routes. Basel airport is thus expecting an increase in the number of complaints about noise pollution from each of the three countries. RAAS will allow traffic controllers to objectively justify their decisions to local residents.

The advice system used in Basel is based on a comparable system previously developed by the NLR and LVNL for Schiphol. The technology is thus not new, but rather adapted to meet the requirements of Basel airport. The NLR spokesperson argues that RAAS is an attractive option for any airport located in a densely built-up area, and that such airports are bound to increase in the future.
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