After the First World War progress in civil aircraft design quickly gained ground and civil air transport began to develop. As early as 1919 the Czechoslovak Ministry of Public Works established a "section of aeronautics", later to become the section of civil aviation, which issued licences for the operation of aircraft and for performing passenger transport. In 1919 Czechoslovakia signed the Convention on International Civil Aviation and became a member of the first intergovernmental aeronautical organisation, CINA.
In 1920 a French air company (which later became the present Air France) opened scheduled aerial communication between Praha, Strasbourg and Paris. In 1923 Czechoslovak State Airlines (ČSA) was established and to mark the 5th anniversary of the Republic ČSA launched a route between Praha and Bratislava (The date was 20.10.1923, the pilot Karel Brabenec and the aircraft a Brandenburg A-14), which was extended from Bratislava to Košice in 1925. Shortly after, a number of other towns in the ČSR were connected by plane.
From 1927 the newly established Czechoslovak Aeronautical Company (ČLS), together with other foreign companies, provided air services abroad. In 1929 ČSA and ČLS took part in negotiations with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) for the first time. From 1930 ČSA aircraft also operated abroad and it was then that Czechoslovak civil aircraft were designated OK, instead of the then used L.
The Air Force began its history as the Air Corps. The Air Corps was founded in 1918 using equipment that had been inherited from the Austro-Hungarian Air Force, and which was later supplemented with French material. In 1920 command of the Czechoslovak aeronautics was established and two years later it was transferred to the so-called III. Section of the Ministry of Defence (MNO), which remained in existence until 1939.
In 1922 the Military Aeronautical Institute of Study (VLÚS) was founded, later to be reorganised as the Military Technical and Aeronautical Institute (VTLÚ). Both military and civil aircraft had to be tested by this institute before being put into service. From 1928 the first wind tunnel was also operated here. The field of aviation became established with the formation of postgraduate courses at the Czech Technical University in Praha in 1929. Similar courses in aviation were later also held at the Technical University in Brno.
In a comparatively short period a relatively powerful aircraft industry was also built, represented in particular by the aeronautical factories of Letov, Aero, Avia, ČKD-Praha and Beneš-Mráz. At the same time production of aircraft engines, appliances and other accessories was established. This production base was powerful enough that at its height it was able to provide the entire material needs of our civil and military aviation up until the Second World War.
At this time a whole series of amateur and sports aviation organisations were formed. The "Czech aviation club", later renamed the "Aero Club of the Czechoslovak Republic" (ARČS), was particularly famous, as were the "Association of Airmen of the Czechoslovak Republic" and "Masaryk's Aeronautical League" in the thirties. This particular organisation, together with the ARČS, organised a civil defence campaign for "a 1000 new pilots", the goal of which was to train as many pilots as possible to increase the readiness of our Air Force. A number of such trained pilots joined the ranks of the Allied Air Forces during the Second World War.
Initially the control of flights was limited to information given before the flight about the terminal aerodrome and the weather conditions for the intended flight route. During the flight the only means of ground contact available to the pilot were visual. In 1930 the entire main route between Praha, Brno and Bratislava was marked by light beacons.
At the airports there were pennons, information signs, wind socks, signs placed on the airport surface, signal rockets for use in bad visibility, signalling by a signal lamp, warning lights, search lights and aerodrome rotating beacons. From 1928 radio communication was established at Czechoslovak airports by means of wireless telegraphy in the LW. band. Airlines also equipped their aircraft for wireless communication and provided crews with a telegraphist. In 1931 all ČLS aircraft were so equipped and in 1933 ČSA followed suit. From 1929 ground radio direction-finding stations (goniometric stations) were also built at important transport aerodromes in Mariánské Lázně, Praha, České Budějovice, Brno, Otrokovice, Bratislava (now part of the Slovak Republic) and Užhorod (now part of Ukraine). The network of direction finders enabled the position of aircraft to be fixed, as well as helping to vector aircraft on their routes and on their landing approach, even under bad weather conditions and at night.
In the beginning this radio telegraphy service relayed reports about the flight, the weather situation and the condition of the airport, and ensured communication between airport radio stations. Later on it provided a radio bearing service and it was in this way that the foundations of the present air traffic control service were gradually formed. The goniometric stations gave no commands to the crews of the aircraft about the direction and altitude of the flight; they merely provided the data that was requested from them. At that time the aircraft crews had sole responsibility for reaching their destination and for safety during the flight.
Direction finding was based on the principle that one unit found the angle from which signals came from an aircraft and this data was plotted on a large scale working map. Another unit did the same and the point at which these lines intersected gave the position of the aircraft. The international Q-code, supplemented by international radiotelegraphy abbreviations, was a common language in ground/air communication. Since only radiotelegraphic communication was used, air traffic control was put under the control of the Ministry of Post and Telegraphs which provided the operational and technical background for these activities up until the Second World War.
Czechoslovak civil aviation developed quickly in the period between the two wars and in 1935 there were more than forty civil aerodromes in the Czechoslovak Republic.
At this time the training of ČSA crews for "controlled descents to ground visibility" was introduced. It was an innovation in the co-operation between goniometric stations and crews and was supposed to enable the landings to be safer, particularly in cases where the weather suddenly worsened at the terminal airport. The descent route was chosen so that no ground obstacles interfered and that the route was approximately 20 km long. The goniometric station transmitting the leading signal was built in the axis of the runway 150 m from its beginning. The pilot of an aircraft was first vectored in the direction of the airport and then he recorded the time and started his descent. Using the compass he turned the aircraft to the axis of the runway and flew along it at a fixed speed from the airport. He kept the exact direction with the help of "back courses", which he received from the goniometer. He flew in this way for seven minutes descending to an altitude of 500 m. He then turned 180 degrees and still descending flew back towards the airport, this time using "front courses" to help him maintain a more precise course. He kept a close watch of the time because he had to be above the goniometer in another seven minutes, this time at an altitude of 50 m. Here he was supposed to catch sight of the ground and the threshold of the runway.
Air traffic control was provided by a procedural method. Initially this was derived from the fixing of current position by the crew with the help of non-directional radio beacons or broadcasting stations and ATC was provided on the basis of these reported positions. The board direction finders and air traffic control were carried out by reports from crews. This called for the creation of fixed routes marked out by non-directional radio beacons operating in the LW and MW bands. The board direction finder, and later the radiocompass, enabled both flight to the target along the route and side direction finding. It could also be used for landing approach.
Prior to April 1937 the majority of airlines used the Praha-Kbely Airport. From April most airlines switched to the newly opened Praha-Ruzyně Airport. This airport had been originally intended only for civil transport and so had been designed for its needs. For its time it was well equipped having unusually large facilities for passenger and cargo check-in, a customs office, passport control, a post office, a meteorological station with a central office for weather forecasts for en-route flights, a diplomatic suite, various offices, two restaurants, a police station and an observation area. There were three well-equipped double-hangars, workshops, assembly halls and warehouses available plus rooms for flying staff along with other necessary areas. The airport was equipped for traffic both during the day and night. It became one of the most modern airports in the world and became an example for the building of other foreign airports. In 1937 it won a gold medal at the International Exhibition of Design and Art in Paris. Specialists from all over the world came to study its features.
Ground aids continued to improve at the main airports. Long-wave Adcock direction finders, resistant to polarising errors, were also built in addition to frame direction finders. The Side Beam Approach (SBA) system was introduced to improve aircraft landing.
The principle of this system was based on the fact that a pilot followed a leading beam which was created by dots and dashes from which a continuous tone was formed in the extended axis of the runway.
In terms of services and equipment of civil airports, Czechoslovakia ranked amongst the most advanced states in Europe.
In the years 1938/39 the promising developments in Czechoslovak aviation achieved during the First Republic were shattered by the German occupation and the subsequent outbreak of the Second World War. ČSA and ČLS were dissolved as early as April 1939 and were gradually liquidated by the Deutsche Lufthansa company. In Slovakia, a Slovak airline was established in 1939 to operate traffic on the Bratislava - Sliač - Prešov route. However, civil aviation, not only in the Czech lands but also in Slovakia, was liquidated and used by the military for the increasing war effort.
During World War II many Czechoslovak pilots served in the Allied Air Forces. In 1940, during the brief campaign in France, Czechoslovak pilots shot down 158 planes and conducted 134 bombing and reconnaissance flights. Squadron leader captain A. Vašátko became the second most successful fighter pilot in the French Air Force, shooting down 15 planes. In Great Britain Czechoslovak pilots served not only in Czechoslovak fighter squadrons of the RAF (310th, 312th, 313th) and the 311th bomber squadron but also formed the majority of pilots in the 68th night fighter squadron, serving also in „British„ RAF squadrons. During the „Battle of Britain„, the most successful RAF fighter pilot, Czech Sergeant Josef František (17 kills), served in the 303rd (Polish) squadron. Czechoslovak fighter pilots in Great Britain shot down 235 Luftwaffe aircraft in total. The bomber pilots performed 980 air raids on 77 targets, during which they dropped 1 231 640 kg of bombs and 95 438 incendiary devices, sinking 4 submarines, the "Alsterufer" freight ship that was running the blockade, and shooting down 4 nightfighters. Within the 1st air division of the USSR Czechoslovak pilots destroyed 20 Luftwaffe aircraft and several ground targets.
After the reinstatement of the ČSR in 1945 Czechoslovak civil aviation, including providing the air traffic service, was entrusted to the Ministry of Transport where a strong aviation section was established. In Slovakia the management of Civil Aviation Affairs was incorporated into the Committee for Transport and Public Works.
As early as 1944 the Czechoslovak government in exile was among the founding members of the Provisional International Civil Aviation Organisation (PICAO) which finally changed to the intergovernmental organisation called International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in 1947.
In September 1945 the Czechoslovak government established Czechoslovak Airlines (ČSA) as the only state operator of air transport.
In a Europe destroyed by war Czechoslovak civil aviation quickly came to the fore. The government supported and contributed to the renewal of the ground infrastructure of the air transport system because it was much faster to repair than the railway and road infrastructures which had been extensively damaged. There was an abundance of material seized from the occupation armies that was available to equip the relatively well preserved Czechoslovak airports. In addition to this it was possible to gain high-quality material from the surfeit stock of the American army. Practically the whole aircraft fleet of the ČSA (consisting of ex-military transport aeroplanes, C-47s, which were adapted to the standard of DC-3 in local factories) was obtained from the same source.
In air traffic control the methods used in aviation first signified a qualitative change during the Second World War. Most importantly these included radar, an improved landing system (ILS) and, later on, systems for long range navigation (LORAN and CONSOL). The universal division of airspace into flight information regions, terminal control areas and control zones was established and a network of international airways was created.
In the period between 1945 and 1947 air traffic services units were built at Czechoslovak transport airports under the direction of the Ministry of Transport. They provided radiotelegraphic communication and direction finding of "gonio" stations, ground-to-air communication, communication with airports at the aerodrome control tower (TWR) and the SBA. In addition traffic using the airways was controlled by Area Control Centres (ACC) at the airports in Praha and Bratislava. The American army also equipped Praha's Airport with the instrument landing system (ILS), the RADIO-RANGE beam LW radio beacon, VHF Communication with aircraft, a VHF hand direction finder, and a SW communication centre for aeronautical ground and weather services. The British army built an Adcock SW direction finder at the airport.
MF beam radio beacons (RADIO-RANGE) allowed the crew of an aircraft to establish their position, with traffic control proceeding according to the report given by the aircraft crew. This method of navigation required the introduction of the system of fixed airways. From the Morse signs A and N, the radio beacons created four sectors complementing one another, on whose division the zones of the permanent tone created beams. By maintaining a constant tone in his headphones a pilot could follow the correct track. The system further allowed flight and meteorological information to be broadcasted to aircraft. It was also used as an approach system. The radio beacons in the vicinity of the airport were therefore placed so that one beam was in the axis of the runway.
There was also another reason for the modernisation of the equipment at Praha-Ruzyně Airport in particular. A short time after the war ended this airport was in the best condition in Central Europe prompting the government of the USA to consider building a central air base there. After 1948, the communist coup d´état and subsequent one-sided orientation towards the Soviet Union resulted in the above project moving to Frankfurt am Main.
The rapid growth of air transport and Czechoslovak civil aviation were again hit heavily in February of 1948. The action committee was not satisfied with leading workers and so they were immediately removed from office, often being replaced by unqualified workers. In a short time all the former airmen of the western armies, who formed the backbone of the rapid post-war renewal, were forced to leave the aviation industry. Foreign transport was limited and all parts of the Czechoslovak civil aviation were transferred to Czechoslovak Airlines which was managed directly by the Ministry of Transport.
The original regulations that had been drawn up from the recommendations of the ICAO were replaced by regulations according to the Soviet model. The technical facilities of air traffic control services also deteriorated. The western-produced equipment was dismantled for ideological reasons and in the spirit of the Cold War an embargo was imposed on the import of new equipment and spare parts. Social support, essential at that time for the modernisation of ground facilities and the infrastructure of air transport, diminished as a result of the general stagnation in air transport. Nevertheless even though air traffic control was affected by the Soviet concept of the use of state airspace, it was basically carried out according to ICAO requirements.
During this period not even the production base remained untouched by the extensive influence of the Soviet Union. Some Soviet makes of aircraft were produced in Czechoslovakia (for example the Jak-11, MiG-15, IL-10, Il-14, MiG-21) and air construction fell into line with the requirements of the most important customer, i.e. the Soviet Union, this finally resulting from decisions made by the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (CMEA). This affected, for example, both the Aero L-29 Dolphin and Aero L-39 Albatross training aircraft and the Let L-410 as well as other construction, including the L-610. Amateur flying was only possible within the limits of the Union for Co-operation with the Army.
In 1952 the "Main Administration of the Civil Aviation - the Czechoslovak Airlines" (HSCL - ČSA) was established on the Soviet model as a constituent of the Ministry of Transport and was entrusted to the Ministry of Transport and the Committee for Transport in the affairs of civil aviation.
This institution was simultaneously responsible for ensuring the management and operation of the whole of the civil aviation service. This resulted in a preference for flexible tasks and in a weakening in the conception and development management and care for the safety of air traffic. In this period the technical base of Czechoslovak aviation was unreservedly concentrated on Soviet design, firstly within the aircraft fleet and then also in ground aids.
This lack of conception and development activities was unacceptable for the future. The "Central Administration of Civil Aviation" (ÚSCL) was established in 1956 under the authority of the state within the Ministry of Transport. ČSA was placed in charge of controlling air traffic and other necessary traffic activities. In 1956 the Civil Aviation Act No. 47/1956 was also approved which, with some amendments, remained valid until its replacement in 1997. Under this act the air traffic control service, which had been established earlier within the limits of the HSCL-ČSA according to the Soviet model, was legally formed. The Central Control Service (CDS) to which the Area Control Services (ODS) and Aerodrome Control Services (LDS) were answerable, ensured the state control of flights. Air communication, air radio navigation and light-technical services created the required conditions for an air traffic control service.
In a short time it transpired that the organisational changes that had been carried out were not effective enough. The separation of economic functions from state administration was not implemented properly. The activities belonging to the state (air traffic control, construction, administration and maintenance of airports) remained under the control of ČSA. This made the fulfilment of ČSA's own tasks more difficult and distorted the economic results. In addition to this the ÚSCL was assigned the task of ensuring that certain operational duties were maintained (including an aeronautical information service, recognition of the qualifications of staff, inspections and checks of aircraft and aviation equipment, and an aeronautical registry).
In an attempt to solve the problems mentioned above the State Aviation Administration (SLS) was established in 1958 as a state budgetary organisation. The air traffic control service, administration, maintenance and building of airports was transferred from ČSA to SLS, as were the operational duties (from ÚSCL). Thus, after a long time a fundamental organisational structure was formed. This respected the character of all main activities and allowed for further development.
The introduction of jet transport aeroplanes on a large scale by air carries during this time increased the complexity of air traffic control. There was therefore a requirement for better systems of control resulting in the establishment of higher categories of precise approach systems. VOR and DME beacons were installed for navigation over medium and short distances and radar was also improved. VHF communication system was established, replacing SW communication. For a long-distance navigation was the system OMEGA implemented .
From the outset the State Aviation Administration shared significantly in the creation of the conditions that permitted the revival of Czechoslovak air transport. This was achieved by introducing jet aeroplanes into service. The extension of Praha-Ruzyně Airport was planned and then implemented and the runway systems and terminal were gradually adapted to the new requirements.
From a technical point of view this period saw the beginning of the test operation of terminal surveillance radars; RL 1 operating in the 3 cm band and en-route surveillance radars, and OR 1 operating in the 10 cm band. Instrument Landing Systems (ILS) and the first VHF Omnidirectional Radio Range (VOR) conforming to ICAO standards were installed at the international airports in Praha and Bratislava. The air traffic control services also made an effort to observe more strictly the international regulations and procedures of the ICAO. The increase in traffic and the newly qualifying demands led to the need for increasing the number of air traffic controllers and for improving the quality of their training. With this in mind the first centre for schooling and training of air traffic controllers was set up at Poprad-Tatry Airport.
The development and increase in activity of the State Aviation Administration led to further organisational changes. In 1964 the State Aviation Inspectorate (SLI) was separated from the State Aviation Administration. The Administration of Transport Airports (SDL), being a state organisation, was transformed into a grant-in-aid organisation from 1967 onwards, and assumed all the activities of the dissolved State Aviation Administration. During the same year the SDL was extended to control the functions of the professional research centre and the Co-ordination Control Work Station of the state research task "Automation for the control of flights between airports", which lead to good results for the departments of transport and for the former Ministry of Defence.
The normalisation measures put into place after 1968 again led to the forced departure of many highly skilled leading workers and other specialists. In connection with the federal arrangement of the state in 1969, the SDL was organisationally divided into the Czech Administration of Transport Airports and the Slovak Administration of Transport Airports. Both organisations functioned with the jurisdiction of the former SDL within their own territory. They co-operated in matters of common interest for both states. From 1972 the names of both organisations were changed to the "Czechoslovak Administration of Transport Airports Praha" (ČSSDL Praha), its sphere being the Czech Republic, and the "Czechoslovak Administration of Transport Airports Bratislava" (ČSSDL Bratislava), working within the sphere of the Slovak Republic.
From 1974 pressure mounted to establish middle management in civil aviation through the creation of a civil aviation organisation (a production-economic unit or general head office of civil aviation). However, it was successfully prevented from happening by the bitter experience of the fifties. Criticism of the quality of air transport, however, continued to grow stronger. The analysis and controls which were made showed some inefficiencies in the Czechoslovak civil aviation system. Further reorganisation was carried out by January 1, 1978 with the establishment of a grant-in-aid organisation, named the Air Traffic Control Administration of the ČSSR (ATCA ČSSR), which had its headquarters in Praha. The budgetary organisation "Airport Construction" was established with its headquarters in Bratislava. The administration, maintenance and operation of public transport airports were transferred to ČSA. The equipment used for monitoring aircraft and for the adjustment and control of ground navigation aids (from ČSSDL Praha) was transferred to SLI and the Administrations of Transport Airports in Praha and in Bratislava were then dissolved.
At the time the vast majority of leading posts in Czechoslovak civil aviation was filled by discharged officers. This produced problems in general professional relations throughout all levels of management within the Czechoslovak civil aviation industry. The establishment of an independent organisation for air traffic control had some positive points:
• the emphasis was placed on air traffic control as the main function of the new organisation,
• a compromise was found between a state-controlled sphere of activity and the global character of air transport,
• separation of the conception and methodical management from operation centres,
• simplification of management relations,
• simplification of economic management by connecting all operation centres within a collective budget, which resulted in beneficial economic results for the whole organisation.
These promising developments of the new organisation and the continued increase in the efficiency of air transport were affected by the government measures of 1981 which radically limited the volume of domestic air transport. In spite of this the Air Traffic Control Administration (ATCA ČSSR) improved; the methodical management of individual operational units, the conception management of the development under its given conditions, and the professionalism of its employees. As a result a general improvement in air traffic safety and an improvement in the capability of technical equipment was achieved.
As in other parts of the world the air traffic control service in our country began to be run by a specific organisation which ensured and continues to ensure the safety and fluency of civil air traffic both in the airspace above our state territory and at determined airports. In practice this means that each aircraft carrying passengers or cargo which flies into the airspace of our Republic is monitored and controlled from the moment it crosses the national borders.
The task of controllers is to maintain safe distances between single aircraft and to navigate these aircraft along allocated airways at appropriate flight levels. They also ensure safety for aircraft undertaking approach and landing manoeuvres on airport runways and taxiing areas. This standard of service is ensured 24 hours a day. In addition to the safety of air traffic the controllers also ensure, using the techniques previously mentioned, traffic fluency and the minimalization of aircraft delays which cause financial losses both to passengers and to air carriers.
1989 to the Present
After 17 November 1989 air transport, as an important part of the infrastructure of the national economy, underwent economic reform. In 1991, the Federal Ministry of Transport promised to provide expert opinion on the organisational structure of Czechoslovakian civil aviation, together with considering the possibility of privatising air navigation services. The basis of this expert opinion, to be used by the foreign consultancy firm was provided by ATCA CSFR and given to the Federal Ministry of Transport. The final results of this expert opinion were not returned to ATCA CSFR.
After a delay, the federal government approved "The Principles of the State Transport Policy" on September 26, 1991. This outlined the strategy for transport policy in the 1990s. However, the position of the Air Traffic Control Administration was not significantly changed until the disintegration of the Czechoslovak Federation despite of the fact that series of negotiations were held at various levels. 1992, which was the final year of the existence of ATCA CSFR under that name, was a year of significant changes based on negotiations between civil aviation organisations and the Federal Ministry of Transport. A demand was put forward to restructure the entire structure of civil aviation and to transform ATCA CSFR into a different type of organisation. Preparations for the commercialisation of ATCA CSFR’s activities began, and the experiences from European and overseas countries where the privatisation of air navigation services had already taken place were taken into consideration. The changes made to the structure of the Czech and Slovak Federal Republics in 1992/1993 prevented the realisation of the privatisation projects prepared by ATCA CSFR. Past experience connected with the expert advice on the organisational structure of Czechoslovak aviation, as undertaken by the foreign consultancy firm, also proved beneficial.
The disintegration of the Czechoslovak Federation led to the division of the organisation's property. The division of property went ahead according to the constitutional law concerning the division of federation property, and on the first of January 1993 the successive state grant-in-aid organisation of the Air Traffic Control Administration of the Czech Republic (ATCA CR) came into being. To enable the future installation of a new control and technical support system, it was necessary to carry out, during its continuous operation, basic reconstruction of the Technical Block at Praha-Ruzyně Airport. The renewal of technical equipment was, in 1992, the main aim of ATCA CSFR, and the most experienced employees were given the opportunity to assist during this renewal of radar and communication systems. The splitting up of the Czech and Slovak Federal Republics on 31 December 1992 made necessary the revision of the privatisation and technological projects in order to suit the demands of the new situation arising from the division of ATCA CSFR into the successive two organisations ATCA CR and ATCA SR. The delimitation of property, personnel and responsibilities of the Company during its dissolution was carried out in accordance with the Constitutional Act concerning the division of the two Federal Republics‘ property. This resulted in a decrease in the capacity of managerial, administrative, and operational employees, together with the negative approach of higher governmental bodies in the Czech Republic, unsympathetic to ATCA CR’s efforts to define its own position through the introduction of market economy principles. On the whole this resulted in a disabling of the progress made by ATCA CSFR in 1992. This general malaise played an important role in the absence of the introduction of a modern aviation law; a law that would replace the one already in existence for 36 years and dating from a period of totalitarianism. The anachronistic methods of civil aviation management, and the conservative reluctance of people to leave the old directive methods of a bureaucratic state apparatus, also made progress difficult. 1993 was the first year of the existence of the new organisation, ATCA CR. Together with the fulfilment of all services and duties stated in the foundation protocol; all basic important tasks necessary for future development were successfully fulfilled. The first part of the new Thomson-CSF EUROCAT 200 radar system was introduced. This approach and area centre, equipped with modern high-resolution colour monitors, allows multi-radar data synthesis from four radars, including Thomson-CSF mono-pulse secondary RSM 970 radars. This system replaced the existing one, and continues to enable the second phase of transformation to the EUROCAT 2000 system with improved functions. The conditions for a change in the character of the Company were thereby created and, in co-operation with a foreign advisory company, remained within the scope of the PHARE project, with new ideas on the organisational structure being suggested in order that ATCA CR could enter Europe (i.e. especially the EUROCONTROL organisation) in the mid-1990s as a stable, secure organisation.
EUROCONTROL (The European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation) was founded in 1960 by European Community member states and, in the course of its activities, it co-operates with ICAO, IATA, NATO, FAA and the European Community. EUROCONTROL‘s main aim, at the time of its foundation, was the monitoring and control of aircraft using upper airspace of the member states. At the present time, its main aim is to develop a coherent and co-ordinated system of air traffic control in Europe. EUROCONTROL is responsible for a number of important programmes, with the main activity at the present time being EATCHIP (European Air Traffic Control Harmonisation and Integration Programme).
In 1992, and within the framework of the PHARE programme, studies concerning the restructuring of civil aviation, and in particular air traffic, began. These studies reflected the need for changes in the providing of ATC services as a result of the present growth in demand for airspace of the former Czechoslovakia, in connection with political changes throughout the world. For future provision of ATS, the key factor is flexibility, because the rigid structures and procedures of state administration do not suit the speed of dynamic changes prevalent in aviation. Financing of ATS from a state budget represents a useless burden for tax payers, and at the same time cannot provide the necessary stimulation for the efficiency of such an organisation. In co-operation with the Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Finance a new model of Company financing was drawn up and implemented. This model of financing was connected to the restructuring of ATCA CR which was completed on 31 December 1994. At the same time, by 1 January 1995, the statute of ATCA CR was changed and, according to a governmental decision, ATCA CR became a state enterprise. Its English name was changed to Air Navigation Services of the Czech Republic (ANS CR).
The fundamental activities of Air Navigation Services of the Czech Republic (ANS CR) thus became: the control and secure provision of civil aviation traffic in Czech Republic airspace and at determined airports; the establishing, operating and maintenance of aviation ground equipment determined for management and control of air traffic (excluding ground lightning system); the co-ordination of air traffic services with military ATC organisations; international co-operation during flight control; the setting up and organising of civil air traffic flow in Czech Republic airspace; providing of aeronautical information services; issuing of aeronautical publications and charts; distribution of aeronautical meteorological information; providing of specialist ATC training; cartographic activities based on a wide range of relevant licenses; publishing of aviation regulations and connected documents; provision of air traffic control; receiving of the corresponding payments for services charged; and providing of consultation and methodological services in the field of air traffic control.
ANS CR is also responsible for a Flight Information Region (FIR), by which the controlled area (CTA) is determined, and whose minimum height level is 300 m above sea level and whose maximum is Flight Level (FL) 660. The system of ANS CR routes complies with the ICAO Air Navigation Plan for Europe.
ANS CR provides area control (ACC) and approach control (APP) and airport services at the following airports: Praha-Ruzyně, Brno, Ostrava, and Karlovy Vary. In addition to the above airports ANS CR provides approach control and aerodrome control services at Pardubice military airport; this being on the basis of the contract with its civilian operator.
As part of the efforts at commercialisation, it had already been decided, even in the days of federation, to start insurance for legal responsibility in Czech Republic airspace. This insurance was arranged for ATCA CR in November 1993 by the British insurance brokerage company, Bowring Aviation Limited. This company is part of the Marsh & McLennan Inc. financial group; which is one of the biggest and most important civil aviation insurance companies in the world. The political changes of 1989 were reflected in the immediate and rapid growth of air traffic. This increased the needs for renewal, both of the system of air traffic control, and of other technical equipment.
At that time a similar situation existed in most European states where growth in demands for air traffic put too heavy demands on the existing ATS systems and resulted in average delays exceeding 15 minutes in 25% of total flights recorded in 1989. The urgency of this problem lead to the formulation of a strategy offering area services of air traffic control in ECAC states for the 1990s. This was approved during negotiations between ECAC ministers of transport in Paris on 24 April 1990. In order to reach the capacity demanded for airspace, efficient allocation and availability became the main aim of European programmes of Central Air Traffic Flow Management (CFMU) and EATCHIP. The goal of these programmes is as follows:
• determination of joint demands for systems through specifications and standards
• application of joint procedures in Europe, in close co-operation with ICAO
CFMU’s main aim is to reach a balance between demand and available capacity. CFMU is the direct result of the Air Traffic Flow Management (ATFM) Centralisation Programme directed by EUROCONTROL. CFMU took over responsibility for all ATFM services and began operation of Initial Integrated Flight Plan Processing Unit (IFPS) on 28 March 1996. This system daily processes more than 20,000 flight plan reports, with more than 65% of them being processed automatically. The tactical part of CFMU, having the name TACT, was specifically designed to provide the safe, fluent and efficient use of airspace capacity. Development of the system, i.e. of its tactical functions, is being carried out through the introduction of new changes to the present software. By 28 March 1996, ANS CR had implemented IFPS in accordance with the CFMU schedule. For the next software version of CFMU, ANS CR specified its demands for modifications to the present ASTA 2 system so that the CFMU version could be implemented in 1997 according to the terms determined by the EUROCONTROL schedule.
The increase in the capacity of the pan-European ATM system is achievable via EATCHIP, under the directions of EUROCONTROL. This programme was designed, and is continually being modified, in order to reach its strategical aims, as defined for the 1990s by member states of the ECAC. The programme, which was divided into four phases, is now in Phase 3 (Acquisition and Implementation). The fulfilling of each of the targets of the EATCHIP programme, is the direct responsibility of the Convergence and Implementation Programme (CIP), which is co-ordinated on a pan-European scale, and which has already achieved more than 80 % of its targets. The last valid version of this document, designated as 3.0, for the Czech Republic, was approved in July 1997, and the end of Phase 3 is planned for the end of 1998. This programme is being developed continuously to fulfil the concept of ATM - EATMS (European Air Traffic Management System), published by EUROCONTROL on 1 March 1997, and the aims of the strategy of ECAC member states for the next millennium, called ECAC ATM 2000+ Strategy, which was put forward in published form on 1 October 1997, and which follows on from the ECAC strategy for the 1990s.
The basic means whereby the airspace capacity in Phase 3 of the EATCHIP programme may be increased are:
• RNAV - Area Navigation The possibility of equipping aircraft with
RNAV is a basic condition for optimising the routes of air traffic services and reaching the capacity demanded. European states accepted the decision for the completion deadline for the equipping of aircraft with the basic RNAV system. This deadline was 29 January 1998. The next development towards the implementation of PRNAV (Precision RNAV) is now being considered, especially with regards to the cost and acquisition of this system. The final decision over its eventual implementation should be made, at EUROCONTROL level, in 1998. ANS CR, within the programme of its renewal of the infrastructure of ground navigation systems (which was completed in 1996), finished the building up of VOR/DME ground installations. These installations provide evaluation with precision of Required Navigation Performance (RNP) 5 on all ATS routes above FL 125. ANS CR then issued the relevant publication for its use. Compulsory equipping of aircraft with the RNAV system was determined in the document CAA-D-002-09/97.
• FUA - Flexible Use of Airspace
This concept should change the philosophy of permanent allocation (i.e. reservation) of airspace to one group of users, and to enable its operative and flexible use. The advantages of such a principle are obvious. These include improved civil-military co-ordination, increased capacity, and the permeability and efficient separation of civil and military operations. This concept is divided into two phases. Phase 1 of the conception began on 28 March 1996, and Phase 2, which represents total implementation of the concept, was planned for March 1998.
Within the programme of implementation of the FUA concept a ASM Permanent Body was established, having representatives from both civilian and military organisations. Its main aim is to co-ordinate questions related to the organisation of the Czech Republic airspace. For the pre-tactical Level of FUA, an Airspace Management Cell (AMC) unit was established at Praha area control centre (ACC), in accordance with EATCHIP guidelines. The next programme, specified by Phase 2 of the FUA project, is under the direction of the Czech Ministry of Transport, assisted by a team of representatives from ANS CR and from the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic.
• RVSM - Reduced Vertical Separation Minima
This programme, together with the programme for precise altitude measurement, represents a big increase in the capacity and permeability requirements for Upper airspace. In view of the importance of the RVSM programme, EUROCONTROL changed the term of its planned implementation from the year 2003 to 2001. At the 13th Session of the Airspace and Navigation Team (ANT), a further step towards the implementation of RVSM was approved and it was agreed that the decision regarding the implementation of operation schedules was to be made at the 14th session of ANT in November 1997.
Automised reports, sent via communication lines within ATS navigation centres, is another possible contribution to the planned diminishing of the burden faced by air traffic controllers (ATCOs) and so to the increase in the capacity of the system. The automised On Line Data Interchange (OLDI) is being gradually implemented among neighboroughing navigation centres of ATS. Automised communication between aircraft and ATS centres is now being tested, and is expected to be used for flight level clearances, change of frequency, other demands and messages, and confirmation and automatic provision of data regarding speed, wind etc. In April 1997 ANS CR began operation of a new radio-communication system for aircraft-ground connection, completed with work station, at Buchtův Kopec in the Českomoravská Vysočina. An stand-by transmitting centre in the vicinity of Jeneč also forms a part of the above-mentioned system, and due to organizational reasons this centre was removed from the area of the airport. Means for voice communication with recording instruments at the individual airports were also introduced. The renovation of radio-communication systems for regional airports in Brno, Ostrava and Karlovy Vary, became the subject of a study that was updated during 1997 and which concerned the analysis of the range of services offered by those airports.
• Technical support
The automation of routine activities, prediction, conflict detection and automation of decision processes are other elements that will diminish the stress put on ATCOs, and in turn will increase the capacity and the permeability of airspace. Some of the above mentioned elements are being prepared within the scope of EUROCONTROL, the following elements in particular:
o FDP - Flight Data Processing
o ATS Environment and Support Function
o Arrival Manager
o Conflict Detection Tool
o Conflict Alert Tool
o Performance Monitoring Tool
• Satellite navigation
The programme of satellite navigation and its implementation is connected with the efforts of a three- party group created by the European Community (EC), European Space Agency (ESA) and EUROCONTROL to determine a policy for the implementation of satellite navigation that would satisfy all demands, i.e. demands for integrity, availability and reliability. The programme is divided into two parts. It is expected that initial operation conditions for the system will be available in 1999, with its full implementation taking place in 2004. It is expected that ground navigation infrastructures will, however, be used.
ANS CR has actively participated in the drawing up and implementation of EATCHIP policy aims. At the same time, the Company determined its development policy on the basis of statistical evaluation of the density of air traffic. From the results of this study it is obvious that the expected growth in air traffic of approx. 9% in 1997 will linearly decrease until the year 2001 and will be followed by a constant yearly increase of approx. 5%.
To reach the above-mentioned targets, ANS CR has put into operation a number of projects. The project under which the implementation of the Czech Automated Multiradar System (CAMUS) will take place, is divided into two parts and it replaced, during the first phase, the present AIL system. Since 1 August 1993 it has been in use under the name EUROCAT 200. The second phase of the CAMUS project concerned the implementation of a Secondary Surveillance Radar (SSR) on Buchtův Kopec, which is a part of the building-up of a radar detector network in the Czech Republic. Following the reconstruction of a radiolocation point in Buschberg, Austria in 1996, data from this MSSR is being transmitted to our system. The present configuration of the radar detector system will be extended by data from the radiolocation point in Mittelsberg, Germany. During 1996, intensive preparations were made for the implementation of the EUROCAT 2000 system, which was to replace the present EUROCAT 200 system. The deadline for the implementation was initially set for 31 March 1997. However, on the basis of a continual analysis of the capacity and readiness, both on the part of the system and its intended users, the date of implementation had to be postponed and reset for the end of 1998.
At the end of 1996, reconstruction of the aerodrome control tower (TWR) at Praha-Ruzyně Airport began. In addition to the construction of new work-space and workstations for ATCOs, it also includes renewal of the surface movement radar. The reconstructed TWR was put into operation in May 1998 and, at the present time, it presents a new sight to Praha-Ruzyně Airport. The completion of this project enabled the application of new technical systems and the implementation of a Surface Movement Ground Control System (SMGCS) to take place.
The renewal and installation of new radio-navigation systems, carried out in 1996, was essential for the development of the infrastructure of conventional radio-navigation systems. Technological unity in the equipment of en-route and airport navigation was reached as a result. In addition, conditions were created which enabled the centralisation of system management and maintenance through. These conditions were achieved due to help from the centralised radio-navigation group, under the responsibility of the Division of Air Navigation Services, Praha. The life expectancy of the systems enables the possibility of their operational use within the limits of their international protection possibilities.
Automised Airport Systems were introduced at Brno and Ostrava Airports. The new system at Karlovy Vary Airport forms a part of the E 2000 configuration for testing and will be implemented in Karlovy Vary after the testing period.
The means for voice and data communication were upgraded and modified in accordance with the guidelines laid down by the GAREX and CADIN projects. At the same time, operational testing of the NOTAM/OPMET system began; its expected implementation being the beginning of 1998.
The capacity and quality of the transfer network saw great improvement, within the digitalisation programme of the aeronautical fixed service.
Within the scope of the EATCHIP programme, ANS CR considers the field of Safety to be a key-feature. At the end of 1996 preparations began for the determination of ways to create a procedural strategy for this field within the Company. This will also help to create conditions suitable for the implementation of ISO 9000 norms. The Company expects that the Integrated Safety and Quality Management System (ISQMS) programme will be in operation in 1998. ANS CR organises regular meetings with aircraft operators and with the Czech Airports Authority. These meetings help in the exchange of information concerning the above-mentioned subjects; subjects such as information about targets and aims, indication means of, or an appraisal of, the quality and range of services provided by ANS CR. The result of previous meetings is, amongst others, a number of incentives for the future orientation of ANS CR.
ANS CR members are active in various international work groups and committees. Most important is close co-operation with ICAO and EUROCONTROL. The government approved entry of the Czech Republic (represented by former ATCA CR, now by ANS CR) into EUROCONTROL on 9 November 1994 (resolution no. 633/94) and the Czech Republic became a regular member of EUROCONTROL on 1 January 1996.