New technology upgrade for air traffic controllers

The Cayman Islands Airports Authority has upgraded two of its messaging systems, which are used by air traffic controllers to direct planes in and out of Owen Roberts International Airport.  

According to Wayne DaCosta, of the Cayman Islands Airports Authority, the previous system was an “aging messaging system that was experiencing reliability issues.” 

Air Traffic Services staff received training on the two new systems, which were implemented by U.S.-based company Frequentis California Inc, on Oct. 15. 

According to airport officials, the goal is to implement a seamless integrated and automated message handling system that will supply the Air Traffic Services messaging needs for both international airports in the Cayman Islands – Owen Roberts and the Charles Kirkconnell airport on Cayman Brac. 

The Aeronautical Message Handling system allows air traffic controllers to communicate data messages with details of aircraft movements, flight plan information, flight progress, meteorological data and other relevant messages.  

Mr. DaCosta said the new system would improve safety “through better performance, availability and usability and compliance.” 

The Automatic Terminal Information Service system was also replaced. This piece of equipment collects meteorological aviation reports and other types of terminal information to generate continuous automated broadcast reports to pilots about conditions at the airport via a radio link. 

Airports Authority’s chief executive officer Albert Anderson, said, “There are numerous benefits to these much needed upgrades. We have had the same AMHS and ATIS equipment since 2005 and the life cycle has come to an end. These new machines will help enhance CIAA’s messaging capabilities and ensure that we are on the same level as other state-of-the-art airports around the world.” 

The Cayman Islands Airport Authority is in the process of tendering a contractor to carry out an expansion program for the Owen Roberts International Airport. 

The terminal expansion program will include improved passenger processing areas, a new departure lounge and commercial spaces. According to airport officials, a contractor for the expansion should be chosen by the end of this month, and construction is expected to start in June 2015. 


Air Traffic Control staff with new Air Traffic Services equipment.

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