Nav Canada is adopting a time-based separation system for aircraft arriving at Toronto Pearson Airport in a bid to maintain runway capacity during bad weather. The system, called Intelligent Approach, was developed by British tech firm Leidos and is in use at London Heathrow Airport. The system takes data from approaching aircraft and calculates the optimum time between approaching aircraft rather than separating them by distance. “This allows airports to maintain runway capacity in strong headwinds by safely reducing the space between arrivals when the use of set distances would otherwise result in a reduced landing rate,” said a news release.
The system will be rolled out with help from Nav Canada’s British counterpart, National Air Traffic Services (NATS) and Leidos. Sensors that already exist on modern airliners provide the raw information that is crunched by the Intelligent Approach software and translates them into dynamic markers on controllers’ screens. “The markers provide controllers with indications of wake vortex and runway separation and help improve the consistency of spacing in all weather conditions,” the release said.