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World’s Busiest Airport Upgrades to Saab’s Latest Collaborative Decision Making & Efficiency Tool Suite


Defense and security company Saab has received a contract renewal from the City of Atlanta Department of Aviation to expand its Aerobahn airport surface management platform in use at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL). This will bring a number of new and advanced products and tools to the ATL airport operations community that will further enhance the collaboration and efficiency of the world’s busiest airport.

A number of new functions will be added to ATL’s Aerobahn Surface Manager (SMAN), including an extended range display that provides a National Airspace System (NAS)-wide view of all inbound and outbound ATL flights for greater proactive management of air traffic, and real-time flight cancellation notification and reporting, giving users up to two days advance and historical view of all cancelled flights for improved management. This is the first deployment of the Aerobahn SMAN with the extended range display.

The Aerobahn Vehicle Tracking system at ATL will be enhanced by incorporating portable Wi-Fi hotspots to enable vehicle operators to access Aerobahn’s real-time view of airport activity, enable expanded vehicle data collection, support dispatching and communications, and ultimately improve ground efficiency. In addition to vehicles equipped with Saab’s custom vehicle tracking devices, Aerobahn is also capable of displaying vehicles equipped with ADS-B or Mode S transponders. With Aerobahn, users are able to see and track vehicles equipped with any of the three vehicle tracking technologies, all on an integrated aircraft and vehicle display.

ATL will also be adding the Aerobahn De-icing Manager, a set of specialized decision support tools that help reduce taxi times and increase airport throughput during de-icing events. The tool incorporates several of Aerobahn’s unique capabilities to facilitate accurate management of the de-icing process, including tracking and projecting de-icing pad queue lengths, monitoring of occupancy times, and automatic recording of de-icing process milestones.

“Atlanta has continually seen a decrease in delays and improved overall operational performance since deploying Aerobahn in 2010,” said Paul Meyer, Airport Assistant General Manager for Operations. “These achievements are possible due to the airport-wide collaboration fostered by the airport community through the use of a common surface management system.”

Since deploying Aerobahn and its own surface multilateration system, ATL has created a collaborative environment where all stakeholders (airport, airlines and the FAA) have a common platform to improve overall airport operations. In 2012, ATL saved 36,400 hours in taxi time and 64,400 hours in schedule delay per year, saving airlines $97 million annually with delays at their lowest level since measurement began in 1990 (10.1 per thousand operations). This reflects a 21% improvement in addition to a 54.7% delay reduction achieved in 2011. The airport has also experienced no U.S. Department of Transportation long on-board delays since deploying Aerobahn with its advanced event alerting functionality.

“The latest Aerobahn advances, such as integrated NAS-wide situational awareness and surface vehicle tracking and management solutions, enables ATL to attain new heights in efficiency and collaboration,” said Ken Kaminski, general manager of Saab ATM. “The result is an improved experience for the passenger, where delays and disruptions are at a minimum.” 

The Aerobahn Product Suite (Surface Manager, Departure Manager, Airport Status Dashboard and De-icing Manager) is improving the efficiency and collaboration of airport authorities, airlines and air navigation service providers. It is the industry’s most widely-deployed airport operations management system, currently in use at 26 airports world-wide, including seven of the 10 busiest airports in the U.S., by movements (Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago O’Hare, Denver, Houston, Philadelphia and Phoenix International Airports).

Saab serves the global market with world-leading products, services and solutions within military defence and civil security. Saab has operations and employees in about 40 countries around the world. Through innovative, collaborative and pragmatic thinking, Saab constantly develops, adopts and improves new technology to meet customers’ changing needs. Follow us on Twitter: @saab


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