NEXTGEN TO HELP MODERNIZE FLORIDA METROPLEX
Miami International Airport is a major hub for international flights between the U.S. and Latin America. The Unique positioning of Miami in the National Airspace System (NAS) leaves the region’s Air Traffic Controllers responsible for managing traffic between the Miami Metroplex and airports in Cuba and Haiti, and nearby U.S. Territories. Over the past five to six years air traffic has increased. The FAA is making sure its NextGen airspace modernization program is bringing needed changes to accommodate traffic.
“Right now we have a couple of issues in Miami Oceanic airspace. One is that Miami Center works with five foreign facilities and the New York Center Oceanic Airspace. The only foreign facility that we are automated with is Cuba,” Greg Harris, National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) lead for the Florida Metroplex told Avionics Magazine.
For more than 19 years, Harris has been working at the Miami Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC). It has become complicated for controllers in Miami because of the foreign air facilities. This complication is not because of the language difference or misunderstanding, but the real reason is that those foreign air facilities do not have radar, most don’t have the same technologies that U.S. controllers use to automatically exchange data about incoming flights. Without this technology, flight controllers need to call manually and communicate this critical information.
This NextGen program has been helping current Miami air traffic controllers deal with these issues. They have had Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) installed in a portion of the area, also En Route Automation Modernization (ERAM). ERAM is a replacement for Host. Combined with this, the ADS-B radar data will allow Miami Center Controllers to manage flights more effectively because both process flight data and radar faster than the earlier technology.
This new advancement will make things simpler and easier for air traffic controllers. Everyday technology is making our lives easier and more efficient and this project is a perfect example.