20 june 2012

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev visits the Moscow Automated Air Traffic Control Centre at Vnukovo Airport


Director of the Moscow Automated Air Traffic Control Centre Vladimir Uzhakov told the prime minister that the centre became operational in April 1981. The air traffic controllers employed at the centre track 56% of all flights in Russia. The centre is designed to control air traffic within the area under Moscow's jurisdiction. "We didn't have a single centre before," Vladimir Uzhakov said. "Currently, it's Russia's largest air traffic control centre." The area covered by the centre is about 1,000 km from north to south.

Head of the Federal Air Transport Agency Alexander Neradko told Dmitry Medvedev about the prospects for launching an automated dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) system in Russia. The system is capable of tracking all types of aircraft in the sky above Moscow. The prime minister asked if implementing this system would require major spending. Mr Neradko said that the costs involved are not large.

"If it's not expensive and not too much of a burden, then it should be done. Or you aren't so sure?" Dmitry Medvedev said.

"We have no doubts whatsoever, and we are moving forward in this direction," Alexander Neradko said.

Vladimir Uzhakov noted that implementing the system will not create additional problems with equipping air controllers' workstations, adding that they now have four systems: an old one introduced in 1981, a modern system launched last year and two back-up systems. "If we implement the ADS-B system, then monitors will show satellite system data," he said.

The prime minister familiarised himself with the work performed by air traffic controllers and spoke with a flight supervisor who told the prime minister that about 30,000 passengers were in the air within their area of responsibility as the moment. About 20,000 passengers are airborne within the area controlled by the centre at any given moment.

The prime minister was interested in air traffic controllers' workload. The flight supervisor told him that air traffic controllers work in shifts and their work load is monitored. Work is spread among air traffic controllers in other sections if any of them comes under peak workloads.

Dmitry Medvedev was likewise interested in air traffic controllers' training background and their level of proficiency in English. Vladimir Uzhakov said that under ICAO regulations air traffic controllers must have reached fourth-level language proficiency. "Previously, we had a staff interpreter on the premises," he said.

The prime minister was also shown the simulators used in air traffic control training. Mr Neradko said that such simulators are used at all air traffic controller training centres.