31 March 2015

Virgin Australia’s $200 million new terminal pier at Terminal 1 has again been delayed, and is now expected to open in late 2015.

The new pier was originally due to open in June 2014, but has been delayed several times. A new building contractor has been engaged to complete the project, adding to the delays.

Virgin Australia says it has lost millions of dollars due to operational inefficiencies caused by the current airport layout. Currently, Virgin operates from three terminals on opposite sides of the airport – Terminal 1 for international flights, Terminal 2 for regional flights by Virgin Australia Regional Airlines and Terminal 3 for domestic intrastate and interstate flights.

The upgrades to the Terminal 1 departures area are also behind schedule. A new building contractor has been brought in to finish the work. .

Work on the Terminal 1 forecourt, and the expansion and upgrade of Terminal 3 is underway.

30 March 2015

Vietnam’s Ministry of Transport is restructuring the country’s aviation sector to make the country one of the top aviation centres in Southeast Asia.

If the plan is approved, Vietnam Airlines may become as large as Thai Airways International, and it will commence services to Perth from Vietnam by 2020.

Vietnamese people currently have a number of restrictions on travel out of Vietnam, so they do not visit WA in significant numbers. However, there is a relatively large population of Vietnamese migrants living in Perth, ranking 11th in terms of migrant population size.

Vietnam is also an increasingly popular destination for Australian tourists.

VH-LQJ Bombardier DHC-8-402NG Dash 8 Q400 (MSN 4414) of QantasLink, at Perth Airport - Tue 24 March 2015. *Final QantasLink Dash 8 Q400 revenue service in Western Australia.* Flight QF2429 from Learmonth, on final approach to runway 21 at 6.29pm. The aircraft departed the next morning via Adelaide to its new base in Brisbane. Photo © Laura Collier

VH-LQJ Bombardier DHC-8-402NG Dash 8 Q400 (MSN 4414) of QantasLink, at Perth Airport – Tue 24 March 2015.
*Final QantasLink Dash 8 Q400 revenue service in Western Australia.* Flight QF2429 from Learmonth, on final approach to runway 21 at 6.29pm. The aircraft departed the next morning via Adelaide to its new base in Brisbane.
Photo © Laura Collier

25 March 2015

QantasLink Bombardier DHC-8-402NG Dash 8Q-400 VH-LQJ operated the final service by the type in Western Australia (for the time being) on 24 March 2015.

On the final day, VH-LQJ flew Perth-Geraldton-Perth as QF2432/QF2433, then Perth-Learmonth as QF2428, returning to Perth as QF2929 at 6.29pm, where it was greeted by a water cannon salute by the airport fire crews.

Early on 25 March, VH-LQJ departed Perth to Adelaide and Brisbane as QF670D. Only 90 minutes after arriving in Brisbane, it operated a revenue service from Brisbane to Roma and return.

Qantas Group announced the withdrawal of the type last November to better match capacity with demand, and increase aircraft utilisation. All QantasLink services out of Perth are now operated by either QantasLink Boeing 717s or Network Aviation Fokker 100s (Network is owned by Qantas Group).

Dash 8-Q400 services began with Perth – Geraldton and Perth – Learmonth services from 21 November 2011, with VH-LQD and VH-LQG being based in Perth. These were replaced in late 2014 by VH-LQJ and VH-LQK.

A6-ECN Boeing 777-36NER (MSN 37705/761) of Emirates, over the northern suburbs of Perth – Sat 12 April 2014. Photo © David Eyre

A6-ECN Boeing 777-36NER (MSN 37705/761) of Emirates, over the northern suburbs of Perth – Sat 12 April 2014.
Flight EK422 from Dubai, heading northeast at 3,400 feet over the northern suburbs at 12:18pm, before turning right to join the approach to Perth Airport’s runway 21.
Photo © David Eyre

23 March 2015 – © David Eyre

With the introduction of the Airbus A380 to Emirates’ daily evening EK420/EK421 Dubai – Perth services from 1 May 2015, the airline has announced that from 6 July 2015, it will:

  • cease the daily afternoon EK422/EK423 Boeing 777-300ER service; and
  • upsize the daily morning EK424/EK425 service from a Boeing 777-200LR to a 777-300ER.

The schedule from 6 July 2015 will then be as follows:

  • Airbus A380-800: EK420 departs Dubai at 0255 – arrives in Perth at 1735 / EK421 departs Perth at 2210 – arrives Dubai at 0520 the following morning
  • Boeing 777-300ER: EK424 departs Dubai at 1010 – arrives in Perth at 0045 the following morning / EK425 departs Perth at 0605 – arrives in Dubai at 1300

9 March 2015 © David Eyre

Perth Airport has warned the WA Planning Commission that if the State Government approves housing developments under runway flight paths, there will be increased pressure for night curfews to reduce aircraft noise.

The Government is currently assessing a proposal to rezone the former Rosehill Golf Course in South Guildford into 800 home sites for about 2000 residents. This would be directly affected by Perth Airport’s third runway, which is to be constructed in the next few years, parallel to and to the east of Horrie Miller Drive.

Perth Airport CEO Brad Geatches queried why the State Government is urging the development of the third runway, whilst also allowing homes to be constructed under the third runway flight path.

Sydney, Adelaide, Gold Coast and Geelong have curfews which restrict or prevent aircraft movements between 11pm and 6am. A curfew at Perth would make flights more expensive and reduce choice, because flights would not be able to operate in and out of Perth during the curfew hours and airlines would not be able to offer cheaper late night flights.

When Perth Airport was built in 1942, there were few residential areas nearby, but commercial interests have been allowed to gradually surround the airport with residential and industrial areas. Perth Airport and Airservices Australia are already being pressured by current neighbouring residential areas to reduce aircraft noise.

Perth is Australia’s fourth busiest airport, with about 150,000 aircraft movements a year. National guidelines recommend homes should not be built near airports where plane noise regularly exceeds 70 decibels, but recent Airservices Australia noise monitoring at Queens Road, South Guildford, showed that nearly 3,500 flights per month generated noise levels above 80 decibels.

B-2735 Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner (MSN 34928 / 119) of China Southern, landing at London-Heathrow Airport - 17 July 2014. Photo © Ian Moy

B-2735 Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner (MSN 34928 / 119) of China Southern, landing on runway 09L at London-Heathrow Airport – 17 July 2014.
Photo © Ian Moy

8 February 2015 (UPDATED 9 March 2015) – Copyright © David Eyre

China Southern services between Guangzhou and Perth (flight CZ319/CZ320) will see the current Airbus A330-200 aircraft replaced by new Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners from 31 March 2015 (arriving in Perth on 1 April 2015).

The airline will also add a fourth weekly service, and is changing schedule timings to include morning and night arrivals and departures at Perth. Schedule will be as follows:

  • Airbus A330-200 until 29 MAR 2015, Boeing 787 from 1 APR 2015.
  • Until 12 JUL 2015: Wed/Fri/Sun: CZ319 arrives Perth at 0600 / CZ320 departs Perth at 0830.
  • From 15 JUL 2015:
    • Tue & Fri: CZ319 arrives Perth 2150 / CZ320 departs Perth at 2330.
    • Thu & Sun: CZ319 arrives Perth at 0600 / CZ320 departs Perth at 0830.

The airline first commenced services to Perth on 9 November 2011 on the Guangzhou – Perth route, which operated three times per week on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday mornings.

Aircraft types used on the route have changed as follows (dates are arrival dates in Perth):

  • Airbus A330-300 (9 November 2011 – 1 April 2013): 287 passengers (4 First Class, 24 Business Class, 48 Premium Economy, 211 Economy seats).
  • Airbus A330-200 (3 April 2013 – March 2015): 218 passengers (4 First Class, 24 Business Class, 48 Premium Economy, 142 Economy seats).
  • Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner (1 April 2015 onwards): 228 passengers (4 First Class, 24 Business Class, 200 Economy).

WA provides about 70% of Australia’s exports to China. In 2011, when China Southern commenced services to Perth, China was ranked as the 12th largest source of international visitors for WA, but in 2014 China had risen to 6th place (3rd biggest in terms of money spent).

China Southern is the world’s 6th largest airline measured by passengers carried. It also operates to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

China Southern has had links to Western Australia since 1993, when it started the China Southern WA Flying College, with bases at Jandakot and Merredin.

B-6500 Airbus A330-343X (MSN 954) of China Southern at Perth Airport - 9 November 2011. First service to Perth by China Southern. Flight CZ319 from Guangzhou, landing on runway 03 at 6.31am. Photo © David Eyre

B-6500 Airbus A330-343X (MSN 954) of China Southern at Perth Airport – 9 November 2011.
First service to Perth by China Southern. Flight CZ319 from Guangzhou, landing on runway 03 at 6.31am.
Photo © David Eyre

B-6516 Airbus A330-223 (cn 1129) of China Southern Airlines at Perth Airport – Wed 3 April 2013. ** FIRST CHINA SOUTHERN A330-200 SERVICE TO PERTH ** The service switched to using the shorter A330-200 on this date. B-6516 is seen parked at Bay 55 after arriving at 05:49 as flight CZ319.  Photo © David Eyre

B-6516 Airbus A330-223 (MSN 1129) of China Southern Airlines at Perth Airport – Wed 3 April 2013.
** FIRST CHINA SOUTHERN A330-200 SERVICE TO PERTH **
The service switched to using the shorter A330-200 on this date.
B-6516 is seen parked at Bay 55 after arriving at 05:49 as flight CZ319.
Photo © David Eyre

8 March 2015

From May 2015, Airservices Australia will commence a 12-month trial of new flight paths for aircraft using Perth Airport, to shift aircraft noise to less populated suburbs of Perth.

Three noise improvement schemes are being implemented in 2015. The changes have been developed in consultation with airlines and the community, and are subject to environmental approvals.

Preferred runways

Noise Abatement Procedures are used by pilots and air traffic control to reduce noise impacts on residential areas, specifying which runways and flight paths are preferred for arriving and departing aircraft.

Under the proposed change (which does not apply on weekdays from 5am-9pm), the mix of arrivals and departures may change, and Cannington may have a noticeable noise reduction. Implementation is scheduled for May 2015.

Current 

Proposed
(no change to runway use on weekdays from 5 am to 9 pm)

Arrivals:
Runway 21 (arriving over Guildford) and Runway 24 (over Greenmount) are equally preferred.
Runway 06 (over Redcliffe) least preferred due to residential areas close to southern end of the runway.
Arrivals:
Equal preference to Runway 21 (over Guildford), Runway 24 (over Greenmount) and Runway 03 (over Queens Park).
Runway 06 (over Redcliffe) continue to be least preferred due to residential areas close to southern end of the runway.
Departures:
Runway 21 (departing over Queens Park) is the only runway preferred for departures.
Departures from Runway 24 (over Redcliffe) are least-preferred due to residential areas close to the southern end of the runway
Departures:
Equal preference would be given to Runway 21 (over Queens Park), Runway 03 (over Guildford) and Runway 06 (over Greenmount).
Departures from Runway 24 (over Redcliffe) continue to be least-preferred due to residential areas close to the southern end of the runway

Smart Tracking

Aircraft arriving from the north and east of Perth to land on Runway 03 (southern end of the main runway) usually perform a visual turn near Carmel and Bickley in the hills area, east of Perth. If visibility is poor, a longer 10 nm ILS approach is used.

A visual approach requires to use a stepped descent, with the aircraft repeatedly descends and then levels out. This descent generates more noise than a continuous descent.

Under Smart Tracking, pilots can use GPS-assisted navigation to perform a quieter, continuous descent over the Perth Hills further away to the southeast of the airport. The visual approach will also be moved to the same flight path corridor as shown in the maps below.

This change, which will be implemented from May 2015, will move flight paths further east over less populated areas in the Perth Hills. There will be very few arrivals over Bickley and Carmel, and less low-level night flights for suburbs between Canning Vale and Casuarina.

Current flight path (blue) versus proposed (yellow) Smart Tracking and visual flight path, for aircraft arriving from the north and east of Perth to land on Runway 03 at Perth Airport. Map by Airservices Australia.

Current flight path (blue) versus proposed (yellow) Smart Tracking and visual flight path, for aircraft arriving from the north and east of Perth to land on Runway 03 at Perth Airport.
(Airservices Australia map).

All southeast approach flight paths (including the longer ILS approaches) to Perth Airport's Runway 03, after the introduction of Smart Tracking and new visual flight paths from May 2015. (Airservices Australia map)

All southeast approach flight paths (including the longer ILS approaches) to Perth Airport’s Runway 03, after the introduction of Smart Tracking and new visual flight paths from May 2015.
(Airservices Australia map)

Night-time respite

Aircraft taking off from Runway 21 on northbound flights from Perth currently fly over suburbs bordering the Swan River, southwest of the airport before turning north. Use of this flight path has tripled since 2007.

Under the night time respite, when Runway 21 is used between 10 pm and 5 am for northbound flights (eastbound flights are unchanged), aircraft will continue flying on runway heading southwards for longer after takeoff. When they are adjacent to Jandakot Airport, they will turn towards the southwest until they reach 8000 feet, at which point pilots may turn to the north. This flight path takes aircraft over less-populated, non-residential land.

Perth Airport’s peak period for departures commences at 5 am on weekday mornings, with aircraft taking-off every two to three minutes.

Proposed implementation of a 12-month trial will start in August or November 2015.

Current departure flight paths for Runway 21 shown in blue. Planned 10pm – 5am departure flight path shown in yellow. Note: Eastbound flight paths are unchanged. (Airservices Australia map)

Current departure flight paths for Runway 21 shown in blue. Planned 10pm – 5am departure flight path shown in yellow. Note: Eastbound flight paths are unchanged.
(Airservices Australia map)

Interesting Facts:

  • There are three airports operating in the Perth area (Perth Airport, Jandakot Airport and RAAF Base Pearce).
  • Perth Airport is Australia’s fourth-largest in terms of passenger numbers and operates 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week.
  • Over the past 50 years, and despite six major economic downturns, Perth Airport traffic has increased on average nine percent a year. More recently (since 2007), the airport has had consistent years of 12 to 15 per cent growth
  • Western Australia is now an important resources centre for the world and contributes forty per cent of Australia’s export income.
  • About thirty per cent of flights to and from Perth Airport are transporting fly-in, fly-out workers to mining and gas facilities in the north and southeast of the State.
  • Additionally, the airport was a gateway for 807 000 international visitors in 2014, contributing some $2.3 billion tourism dollars to the State’s economy.
  • Airservices’ first priority is safety, but must also balance the traffic growth with noise impacts.
  • Between 2010 and 2014, Airservices considered 21 possible noise improvement opportunities for the Perth area – some have been implemented and others rejected for safety reasons.
N609TR AgustaWestland AW609 (MSN 60001, built 2003) owned by AgustaWestland, in Bristow Helicopters livery - 13 February 2015

N609TR AgustaWestland AW609 (MSN 60001, built 2003) owned by AgustaWestland, in Bristow Helicopters livery – 13 February 2015

2 March 2015

Bristow Helicopters has signed a multi-year memorandum of understanding with AgustaWestland to assist in developing the AW609 tiltrotor for commercial operations, mainly for oil and gas and search and rescue.

The $24 million AW609 was originally launched in 1996 as a joint program between Bell and Boeing, who developed the military V-22 Osprey military tiltrotor. In 1998, Boeing left the program and Agusta teamed with Bell. In 2011, Bell withdrew from the program, leaving AgustaWestland as the sole owner.

The AW609 has been under development for 18 years and is the first civil tiltrotor aircraft to enter certification testing, which is expected to take another two years. AgustaWestland has nearly 60 customers for the aircraft, which is to be manufactured in AgustaWestland’s plant at Philadelphia, USA. Most of the flight testing work will also be moving to the USA.

The contract with AgustaWestland does not commit Bristow to purchase the AW609, but Bristow’s CEO Jonathan Baliff said that the company will order the aircraft in significant numbers – perhaps as many as their S-76 and S-92 fleet eventually. These orders are expected when the certification is completed in 2017, with deliveries from 2018.

The arrangement allows Bristow to have exclusive access and optimise the AW609 to their needs. Bristow will assist AgustaWestland to refine the aircraft, recommending enhancements and modifications as well as advising on maintenance and operational procedures. Bristow will also provide some pilots, all the civilian training and invest in simulators for the AW609 development program.

Bristow recently acquired Airnorth, a fixed-wing regional airline based in Darwin, NT. This acquisition enables Bristow to offer a complete logistics service, with fixed wing aircraft of Airnorth delivering passengers and freight for transfer onto Bristow’s helicopters, which then deliver them to remote sites, including oil rigs. A complete, seamless logistics service is increasingly preferred by Bristow’s customers.

The AW609 tiltrotor can fly at 275 knots and take off or land vertically, flies above much of the weather (25,000 feet), has longer range than helicopters (750nm, or 1,100nm with auxiliary tanks) and fly-by-wire control systems.

Bristow believes that the AW609 provides an opportunity in some situations to use one aircraft type, rather than the current mix of fixed and rotary wing aircraft. Examples include flying workers direct from London to a rig in the North Sea, or doing a medevac flight to quickly get injured workers off an oil rig within the ‘golden hour’ of survival.

VH-IXN Extra EA300/LC 330LX (MSN LC-007, built 2011) flown by Mark Jefferies, photographed from VH-YXN Extra EA-300/SC (MSN SC052) flown by Tom Cassells, aircraft owned by Awesome Asset Securities Pty Ltd / Awesome Aviation, over Avalon Air Show, Victoria – Sat 28 February 2015. The WA-based Awesome Global Stars Aerobatic Team performing their display at the 2015 Avalon Air Show. Photo © Awesome Aviation/Tom Cassells

VH-IXN Extra EA300/LC 330LX (MSN LC-007, built 2011) flown by Mark Jefferies, photographed from VH-YXN Extra EA-300/SC (MSN SC052) flown by Tom Cassells, aircraft owned by Awesome Asset Securities Pty Ltd / Awesome Aviation, over Avalon Air Show, Victoria – Sat 28 February 2015.
The WA-based Awesome Global Stars Aerobatic Team performing their display at the 2015 Avalon Air Show.
Photo © Awesome Aviation/Tom Cassells

VH-IXN (background) Extra EA300/LC 330LX (MSN LC-007, built 2011) flown by Mark Jefferies, photographed from VH-YXN Extra EA-300/SC (MSN SC052) flown by Tom Cassells, aircraft owned by Awesome Asset Securities Pty Ltd / Awesome Aviation, over Avalon Air Show, Victoria – Sat 28 February 2015. The WA-based Awesome Global Stars Aerobatic Team performing their display at the 2015 Avalon Air Show. Photo © Awesome Aviation/Tom Cassells

VH-IXN (background) Extra EA300/LC 330LX (MSN LC-007, built 2011) flown by Mark Jefferies, photographed from VH-YXN Extra EA-300/SC (MSN SC052) flown by Tom Cassells, aircraft owned by Awesome Asset Securities Pty Ltd / Awesome Aviation, over Avalon Air Show, Victoria – Sat 28 February 2015.
The WA-based Awesome Global Stars Aerobatic Team performing their display at the 2015 Avalon Air Show.
Photo © Awesome Aviation/Tom Cassells

VH-YXN Extra EA-300/SC (MSN SC052) flown by Tom Cassells, aircraft owned by Awesome Asset Securities Pty Ltd / Awesome Aviation, over Avalon Air Show, Victoria – Sat 28 February 2015. The WA-based Awesome Global Stars Aerobatic Team performing their display at the 2015 Avalon Air Show. Mark Jefferies is the other pilot, flying VH-IXN. Photo © Awesome Aviation/Tom Cassells

VH-YXN Extra EA-300/SC (MSN SC052) flown by Tom Cassells, aircraft owned by Awesome Asset Securities Pty Ltd / Awesome Aviation, over Avalon Air Show, Victoria – Sat 28 February 2015.
The WA-based Awesome Global Stars Aerobatic Team performing their display at the 2015 Avalon Air Show. Mark Jefferies is the other pilot, flying VH-IXN.
Photo © Awesome Aviation/Tom Cassells

VH-IXN (background) Extra EA300/LC 330LX (MSN LC-007, built 2011) flown by Mark Jefferies, photographed from VH-YXN Extra EA-300/SC (MSN SC052) flown by Tom Cassells, aircraft owned by Awesome Asset Securities Pty Ltd / Awesome Aviation, over Avalon Air Show, Victoria – Sat 28 February 2015. The WA-based Awesome Global Stars Aerobatic Team performing their display at the 2015 Avalon Air Show. Photo © Awesome Aviation/Tom Cassells

VH-IXN (background) Extra EA300/LC 330LX (MSN LC-007, built 2011) flown by Mark Jefferies, photographed from VH-YXN Extra EA-300/SC (MSN SC052) flown by Tom Cassells, aircraft owned by Awesome Asset Securities Pty Ltd / Awesome Aviation, over Avalon Air Show, Victoria – Sat 28 February 2015.
The WA-based Awesome Global Stars Aerobatic Team performing their display at the 2015 Avalon Air Show.
Photo © Awesome Aviation/Tom Cassells

Awesome Global Stars Aerobatic Team. VH-YXN (lower) Extra EA-300/SC (MSN SC052) and VH-IXN (upper) Extra EA300/LC 330LX (MSN LC-007, built 2011), owned by Awesome Asset Securities Pty Ltd / Awesome Aviation, over Rockingham - Thu 19 February 2015. Pilots are Mark Jefferies and Tom Cassells. The Awesome Global Stars Aerobatic Team were busy training at Murrayfield in preparation for the Avalon Air Show - they departed for the show on 21 February 2015. VH-YXN is brand new, built in 2014 and registered on 1 December 2014. Photo © Awesome Aviation

Awesome Global Stars Aerobatic Team. VH-YXN (lower) Extra EA-300/SC (MSN SC052) and VH-IXN (upper) Extra EA300/LC 330LX (MSN LC-007, built 2011), owned by Awesome Asset Securities Pty Ltd / Awesome Aviation, over Rockingham – Thu 19 February 2015.
Pilots are Mark Jefferies and Tom Cassells. The Awesome Global Stars Aerobatic Team were busy training at Murrayfield in preparation for the Avalon Air Show – they departed for the show on 21 February 2015. VH-YXN is brand new, built in 2014 and registered on 1 December 2014.
Photo © Awesome Aviation

21 February 2015 (UPDATED with new video clip 9 March 2015)

Copyright © David Eyre

The WA-based aerobatic team, Awesome Global Stars, performed at the 2015 Avalon Air Show, which ran from 24 February to 1 March 2015 in Avalon, Victoria.

Pilots Mark Jefferies and Tom Cassells flew the Awesome Global Stars’ pair of Extra 330 aerobatic aircraft – both pilots are British national aerobatic champions in the UK in a number of categories and perform displays at airshows around the world. They both performed displays at the 2014 Farnborough Air Show, and Mark Jefferies displayed at the 2013 Avalon Air Show.

The Global Stars’ display sequence includes extreme aerobatic manoeuvres, designed to show the capabilities of the Extra 330 aircraft.

The team is sponsored by Perth-based aircraft leasing company Awesome Aviation. Awesome Aviation’s CEO Dieter Ebeling is himself an accomplished aerobatic pilot, winning two medals at the 2014 FAI Intermediate World Aerobatic Championships.

The Awesome Global Stars aerobatic team departed

More photos are available in the February 2015 page of our Aircraft Photos section of the website.

ZK-NZE Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner (MSN 34334/169) of Air New Zealand, in special all-black livery, at Perth Airport – Mon 6 October 2014. Flight NZ175 from Auckland, landing on runway 21 at 4:49pm. Photo © David Eyre

ZK-NZE Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner (MSN 34334/169) of Air New Zealand, in special all-black livery, at Perth Airport – Mon 6 October 2014.
Flight NZ175 from Auckland, landing on runway 21 at 4:49pm.
Photo © David Eyre

27 February 2015

A number of recent programs being introduced by Airservices Australia will improve air traffic control in Western Australia.

OneSky

At the 2015 Avalon Air Show, infrastructure minister Warren Truss announced that Thales Australia has won the tender to develop OneSky, a single air traffic management system for Australia.

OneSky will replace Airservices’ Australian Advanced Air Traffic System (TAAATS) and the RAAF’s Australian Defence Air Traffic System (ADATS), which date back to the 1990s and were due for replacement. OneSky will be introduced during 2018 – 2021, providing an integrated air traffic control system with more efficient flight planning. More effective use of flexible airspace and user-preferred routes, will reduce aircraft fuel burn and emissions. It will also lead to a single Flight Information Region covering all of Australia’s airspace, rather than the current system of two FIRs (Brisbane Centre and Melbourne Centre).

Airport Capacity Enhancement (ACE) program

Airservices Australia’s Airport Capacity Enhancement (ACE) program is enabling more aircraft movements and improved efficiency at Perth Airport.

Aircraft are often required to hold in the air due to air traffic congestion, poor weather, or other reasons. The ACE program has halved the amount of holding fuel that aircraft arriving at Perth Airport are required to carry, equating to take-off weight savings of up to 700 kilograms. This enables the airlines to either increase payload or reduce fuel consumption and emissions.

In 2013, Airservices Australia commissioned UK NATS to review air traffic management at Perth, identifying opportunities including reduced runway occupancy time.

Airservices Australia, Perth Airport and the airlines in the ACE program have since worked to introduce more efficient procedures, reducing holding fuel from 30 minutes to 20 minutes in 2013, and now a further reduction to 15 minutes.

Metron Harmony Air Traffic Flow Management system

The Metron Harmony Air Traffic Flow Management system was introduced at Perth Airport in March 2014, to reduce airborne delays, save fuel, reduce emissions, enhance safety and reduce air traffic congestion.

Metron Harmony had been introduced at other Australian airports beginning in March 2012.

The system uses weather and flight scheduling information to provide advice on maximum arrival rates at airports, as well as managing departure delays on the ground. This helps reduce the amount of airborne holding patterns, reducing fuel burn. It also reduces the workload for air traffic controllers by reducing air traffic congestion, improving safety.

An independent study by PricewaterhouseCoopers Australia found that the during 2014, the system delivered an annual reduction of 8,700 hours in airborne delay time or an average of 1.1 minute per flight arriving at Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and Brisbane airports, worth $18.2 million in fuel savings. Due to forcast increases in air traffic, it is forecast that by 2022, the system will save 14 300 hours, or 1.3 minutes per flight, equating to $37.3 million in annual fuel savings.

Airservices are also increasing use of flexible air traffic routes (flextracks) and User Preferred Routes (UPRs), enabling airlines to adapt flight routes according to forecast weather and winds.

Integrated Tower Automation Suite (INTAS) – modernising control tower technology

Airservices Australia has signed a contract with Saab Sensis to install the Integrated Tower Automation Suite (INTAS) into Perth Airport’s air traffic control tower in late 2016.

INTAS brings together a number of computer- and paper-based control tower systems, including the old paper flight strips, a system which dates back to the 1940s. It provides air traffic controllers with information in a more efficient electronic format, enabling them to focus on visual surveillance of the airport and aircraft, increasing safety.

INTAS consoles are already installed in Airservices new control tower at Broome and a number of Eastern States control towers.

As part of the introduction of INTAS, Airservices will also upgrade power and air conditioning systems in the control tower, to improve reliability.