MATS eyes increasing number of sectors

By Lakshmi Kothaneth — MUSCAT:Dec. 24: The advanced facility at Muscat Air Traffic System (MATS) is expected to pave the way for increasing the number of sectors in Oman’s air space. Speaking to Observer at the opening of the upgraded facility, Minister of Transport and Communications Dr Ahmed bin Mohammed al Futaisi said: “We are proud of the cutting-edge technology added to the air navigation system. It is one of the most advanced centres in the region.”
The expanded centre has boosted the capacity of Oman’s air space and enhanced the safety levels.”
The vision is to expand the number of sectors, according to Mohammed al Zaabi, CEO of Public Authority of Civil Aviation (PACA). “Today we are managing air space via five sectors. We will soon have seven sectors. We have the potential to reach 11 sectors, which means we will have the capacity to receive more aircraft.”
He said: “The centre offers us a very high level of safety management for all aircraft crossing our air space.”
Advanced technology enables the centre to exchange data automatically with centres in the neighbouring countries with high accuracy.
Nasser al Suleimani, Chief of Air Navigation Systems, PACA, said: “As the air traffic increases, the load on air traffic controllers becomes high. We must reduce the load by opening more sectors. The system can handle up to 13 sectors, but we are only using five at present.”
Some of the safety measures available at MATS include the conflict alert system when two aircraft are close to each other in height or lateral distance. If an aircraft is below certain level or close to a terrain, the system will alert the controllers to inform the pilots.
“We also have a medium-term conflict detection tool (a planning tool) in addition to a variety of facilities to ease the traffic. We are in talks with centres in Mumbai and the UAE. The centre in Tehran is also in the process of upgrading,” he said.
Javier Tejerina, ATM Commercial and Marketing Director at Indra Sistemas, said, “It has been a number of years of working together between PACA and Indra engineers where we have defined, developed, tested, evaluated and put into operation the next-generation air traffic management control centre.”
Indra’s contribution in the project was delivering the systems, including some of the methodological parts, sensors and surface control systems.
“Most relevant aspect has been the team constituted by PACA and Indra engineers, which has been the key point in the success of this project.”