Since July 2020 a cloud-based air situation display system called PHOENIX WebInnovation has been used at Adolf Würth Airport to facilitate safe air traffic management. The tool runs in an on-premise cloud in the airport control tower and was developed by DFS Aviation Services GmbH in Langen, a subsidiary of DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung.
Cloud solutions are currently still fairly unusual in the ATM sector. With the installation of the web- and cloud-based air traffic control system PHOENIX WebInnovation, the control tower at Adolf Würth Airport is the first of its kind in Germany and now uses this system to efficiently carry out its AFIS (Aerodrome Flight Information Services), which the aerodrome has been obliged to provide for several years. Due to an increased volume of IFR traffic and the resulting rise in complexity in recent years, the need arose to upgrade the aerodrome’s air traffic control systems and introduce additional radar monitoring.
Peter Wohlleben, Managing Director of Flugplatz Schwäbisch Hall GmbH, explains: “The substantial mix of IFR and VFR traffic, as well as business aviation and air sports, presents a major challenge in Schwäbisch Hall. PHOENIX WebInnovation enables our AFIS officers to always have a complete picture of the overall traffic situation.”
PHOENIX WebInnovation is suitable for a wide range of applications in the aviation industry. The tool has been on the market since the end of 2018 and offers users an innovative way to monitor the air and ground situation of air traffic in real time and with the usual high level of quality demanded by ATM. It is also a very flexible solution that is hardware and location independent thanks to the use of an online cloud and access via the internet (for example from a tablet), but also with the option for local installation, such as in Schwäbisch Hall. Here, the system was integrated into the existing system infrastructure of the airport control tower. This high level of flexibility in terms of location offers new application possibilities not only to airports and ATM companies but also to emergency forces, such as helicopter squadrons.
Andreas Pötzsch, Managing Director of DFS Aviation Services, says: “Air traffic control along with its infrastructure is a highly safety-critical industry. We ourselves are an air navigation services provider and we also develop and sell international air traffic control systems. Therefore, we have the same high requirements for our systems and infrastructure as the rest of the aviation industry. We are convinced that cloud technology today has advanced so far that it is able to reliably fulfil these high safety and performance criteria. Now, during the current difficult economic situation caused by the coronavirus pandemic, it is time to take advantage of this great potential and adopt new approaches. Cloud solutions enable greater flexibility, simplify processes and reduce costs.”