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Helios awarded pivotal ATM harmonization study contract in the Gulf

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Published: October 6, 2015

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Air Navigation Committee has awarded aviation consultancy Helios a contract to develop a detailed study and implementation roadmap to harmonize air traffic management (ATM) provision across the six GCC states: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.

The project is the first step toward a “seamless” airspace for the region and is expected to help deliver additional capacity and improved efficiency necessary to meet increasing demand, Helios said at ATC Global in Dubai.

The study is planned to last 15 months and will be based around two scenarios.

The first will be an “initial operational” scenario focused on increasing interoperability and delivering benefits in the short term by identifying opportunities for developing common standards, operational concepts and improving operational and technical interoperability.

A second “target operational” scenario will provide the GCC with a credible route to increasingly harmonized airspace, CNS/ATM infrastructure and potentially the shared delivery of air traffic services.

Helios director-Middle East Alan Corner stressed the focus would be “very much on practical solutions.”

The project will be aligned to ICAO’s Aviation System Block Upgrades (ASBU) initiative and developed in close cooperation with other national and regional projects, including the ICAO Middle East (MID) region ATM Enhancement Program’s (MAEP) MID ATS Route Network Optimization Project (ARNOP) and the MID Region AIM Database (MIDAD), to leverage additional benefits.

GCC Air Navigation Committee chairman Hasan Al Ghorabi said: “This is currently the most important aviation project for the GCC. We are confident that Helios’ local presence and knowledge, combined with its experience in undertaking similar assignments elsewhere in the world, will provide the necessary expertise to support our own dedicated task force with project delivery.”

GCC UFIR Task Force chairman Eng Ahmed Ali Al-Sayed from Bahrain explained: “The aim is to progressively harmonize how we deliver ATM across the GCC States, enhancing safety and expanding airspace capacity to accommodate the high traffic growth. We are also looking for opportunities to deliver early benefits.”

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