ANC Talks with NAV Portugal

The Air Navigation Commission shares this series of engaging ANC discussions that bring industry and aviation stakeholders together to discuss different aspects of aviation.


NAV Portugal is the Portuguese air navigation service provider for the Portuguese flight information regions (FIRs), Lisbon and Santa Maria. They plan, guide and control air traffic according to international and national regulations while applying the highest safety standards, optimising capacities, and enhancing efficiency, always considering environmental concerns. NAV Portugal has air traffic control centres in Lisbon and Santa Maria. Their ground-air communications stations, radar stations and radio-aids support navigation provide aerodrome and approach control services in ten ATC airport towers. The two Portuguese FIRs cover a vast area, including the airspace above the Portuguese mainland, the islands of Madeira and Azores, along with a vast area in the North Atlantic Ocean, descending to the latitude of the Cape Verde archipelago.

Santa Maria Oceanic

The Santa Maria FIR represented by ICAO is a concessional control area and almost entirely a non-radar area. All standard procedures are required for the functioning of the Oceanic FIR, since it guarantees safety throughout the Portuguese airspace. LPPO is one of the biggest FIRs globally as it provides control to the nine airfields of the archipelago of Azores and commands some of the North Atlantic Tracks (NATs). It offers a vast capacity to control hundreds of flights per day. 

This is an immigration service provider in the North Atlantic, a state-owned company that enjoys U.S. initiative and financial independence. It has its equity, whilst being subject to the guidance and supervision of the Minister of finance and Minister of the dashboard and communications—supervised by the National Agency of Civil Aviation (ANAC) that overlooks the company. To fulfil its duty and provide public service, Portugal works both on the Portuguese mainland and in the autonomous regions of George and Madeira. It ensures compliance with the relevant international relations, guarantees better safety standards and improves the efficiency of service providers while wagering environmental sustainability into account. There is also particular attention paid to the modernisation and reform of the ATM system. 

The 1990s brought about a clear message to accommodate a safe and efficient, not the predictable increase in traffic demand that at that time, and respond to the users’ needs the environment and other issues, necessary to invest in a new ATM system for the sudden Oceania fire. Currently, it tries to meet the global demands for a suitable ADM System while maintaining its focus on safety.

Today, at the time of weatherisation and militarisation, the Oceanic ATM systems are tariffed extensively. The industry is the choice partner. It evolves around traffic control officers and technicians to define operational requirements and technical specifications for the subtle ADM system, adapted to the various levels of the graphic image. Providing a topical office with more and increasingly efficient tools for traffic management mean oceanic areas. Presently the system is working, and it can accumulate the expected increase of traffic in the future. It ensures timely compliance with the mandates for the IPO, not region and assures the safe and effective management of the traffic.

Santa Maria

Santa Maria is an island in the middle of the ocean. In 1937, PAN AM signed an agreement with Portugal for exclusive access to the Azores airports. The aircraft at the time did not have the range necessary for overflights without the technical stops for refuelling and have a very strategic zero position allowing them to refuel in December.

 With the commence of the Second World War, there was an increasing interest for the U.S. Air Force to build an airbase at Santa Maria and about the same time. In 1944 Portugal allowed the U.S. to build an airbase in Santa Maria. Then, in 1946, a summary report stated that for International Civil Aviation with the same purpose, to allow aircraft crossing the Atlantic to stop for refuelling or other technical stops assigned in the Chicago convention. In 1946, Santa Maria airport is became certified for international civil aviation. The Provisional International Civil Aviation Organization (PICAO) chose Santa Maria to set the oceanic ACC, andin 1947, Portugal granted access for the U.S. to use Lajos Field airbase. Thus, Santa Maria became a civilian airport with an Oceanic Area Control Centre (OACC).

Surveillance Safety Net

If a flight’s surveillance contact is lost, CPAR will use procedural separation minima for that single flight. Specifically, the CPAR will use procedural separation minima for all flights and a Single rating, Surveillance/Oceanic.

The safety nets are the same systems for maritime and surveillance sectors with integrated conflict forecasts. If flight surveillance, contact with the last CFR will use procedural separation for that single flight. This means the previous feature does not exist, and the satellite can peep, calculating the estimated position of flights while providing imaging. If the surveillance system is CFR, it will use procedural separation minima for all flights. The concept of the last feature does not exist due to satellite keeping electronically calculated the estimated position of FLEX. It already prepares for a GSB space-based NTSB with only one rating or endorsement surveillance oceanic. All controls in Santa Maria have a CSM CMT CAR, which means surveillance controllers of the maritime and turning.

A great effort was made in improving the ATM system overview. The requirements were done at Santa Maria and then developed by other companies. Another service provided is a Free Router, already in use for several years. It is a user-preferred route. There is also an ECON or no fixed speed. The aircraft can fly in coast index as they wish while the crews climb or block the altitudes, and the work is typically in a tactical environment. It means that traffic in conflict can be approved, provided it allows a solution. This permits flights to fly under optimal flight levels for extended periods, not to be analysed once entering oceanic airspace. 

A flight can change its speed on the point of the small point one MAC number, above or below what they are clear, without having to tell a traffic control. This helps the pilots to manage the cost index. Reducing costs on flights and finally, something seen in September called the cruise client, but actually, pilots do the cruise client, which is about 100 feet climb every 10 minutes. However, usually, they ask as a block, so either one or the other are prepared. To issue such clearances if there is no traffic to effect, simply just issues again as easy as three clicks a CPS message saying maintain blog flight level to flicker.

The ANC Talks interview NAV Portugal is available for on-demand viewing here.