The Australian Advanced Air Traffic System

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The Australian Advanced Air Traffic System (TAAATS) (pronounced tats, or tarts), is the hardware and software system used by Airservices Australia for air traffic control services. It is a paperless, computer based system, which serves as an aid to civilian air traffic controllers. It does not control aircraft, but gives the user a display of information about an aircraft's position and associated information. It also handles communications and other information exchanges.

The Australian Advanced Air Traffic System, or TAAATS is one of two systems in Australia, the other being the Australian Defence Air Traffic System (ADATS), which is used by the military. TAAATS is based on the Thales Eurocat system and is used in two FIRs, Melbourne and Brisbane. It is also used in multiple TMA (Approach/Departures) facilities in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Canberra, Cairns and Perth.

It was developed and implemented in the late 1990s and commissioned in March 2000.[1] The introduction of TAAATS increased controllers' productivity.[2] The system is being replaced by OneSky which will be the first integrated civil-military air traffic management system for any country. OneSKY is expected to be operational by 2021. [3]

The TAAATS console[edit]

There are two Centres for TAAATS in Australia, one in Brisbane and one in Melbourne. Each TAAATS Centre has roughly 42 operational consoles or "suites" and each suite has four computer screens:

  • Air Situation Display (ASD) : This main screen is basically a map of the sector that shows the location of all aircraft in controlled airspace, as reported by one of several data sources – radar data processing, flight data processing and automatic dependent surveillance.
  • Aeronautical Reference Data Display & Distribution System (ARDDDS) : A display providing access to a wide range of information including aircraft performance data, weather radar, airport/navigation aid/tracking point codes, airline ICAO designators, Standard Arrival Route (STAR) and Standard Instrument Departure (SID) "plates" and depiction of the airspace setup for TMA sectors.
  • Voice Switching and Communications Select (VSCS) panel : A touch-sensitive screen allows controllers to choose the radio frequency they need to talk to pilots and ground staff, or the intercom for talking with other controllers.
  • Auxiliary Display : The controller can call up a wide range of information such as weather forecasts, flight plans, strip windows, secondary maps and other material for the information of themselves and pilots.

Previous system[edit]

Under the old system, controlled airspace in Australia was divided into six flight information regions, based roughly on State boundaries. So, for example, when an aircraft flew from Perth to Sydney, the pilots would communicate with the following air traffic controllers:

  • The tower in Perth gave instructions for runway taxiing and scheduling of take-off;
  • A departures controller in Perth gave instructions for the climb out of Perth;
  • An en route controller in Perth tracked the aircraft's progress as it headed east across the State;
  • An en route controller in Adelaide tracked the aircraft as it traversed South Australia;
  • An en route controller in Sydney tracked the aircraft once it entered New South Wales;
  • An approach controller in Sydney gave the flight instructions for a safe approach to Kingsford Smith airport; and, finally,
  • The tower at Kingsford Smith issued landing and taxiing instructions.

Handwritten paper flight progress strips were used to track flights.[2] Six flight information regions were utilised instead of the reduced two under TAAATS.[1]

How TAAATS works[edit]

The six control regions, have been split into two, with a line running basically from east to west along the centre (approximately). The northern side of the line is controlled by Brisbane, and the southern side is controlled by Melbourne.

The operations room of both, Brisbane and Melbourne, contain 42 individual workstations, divided into groups responsible for different sectors within the flight information region. A number of safeguards have been built into the system to reduce the risk of malfunction. For example, almost all of the electronic systems have been duplicated – standby equipment is ready to switch into immediate operation if the main equipment fails.

Both Brisbane "Centre" and Melbourne "Centre" contain a simulator for training new air traffic controllers, but this can be converted to the other control centre within 48 hours in the event of a devastating failure.

TAAATS incorporates ADS-B from more than 70 sites across the country.[4] The system introduced new features to air traffic control in Australia including conflict alerting and conformance monitoring.[1] By 2021, Australia it is expected that air traffic control services will be using the most advanced and integrated air traffic control system in the world known as OneSKY, which will unify Australian skies under a new, harmonised air traffic management system.


Each centre simulator contains 10 consoles that can be configured to take over from the sister centre in the unlikely event that an entire centre is taken offline by a catastrophe. For individual console failures, control functions can be quickly transferred to a spare suite by a few mouse clicks on the supervisor's console.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Upgrading Australia's Air Traffic Management Technology". Kable. 31 August 2010. Retrieved 13 September 2015. [unreliable source?]
  2. ^ a b Air traffic control characteristics and performance of selected international air navigation service providers and lessons learned from their commercialization: report to congressional requesters. DIANE Publishing. 2005. p. 21. ISBN 1428932143. Retrieved 13 September 2015. 
  3. ^ Steve Creedy (27 February 2015). "$600m civil-defence system to be built by Euro company". The Australian. Retrieved 13 September 2015. 
  4. ^ Ulrich, William M.; Philip Newcomb (2010). Information Systems Transformation: Architecture-Driven Modernization Case Studies. Morgan Kaufmann. p. 93. ISBN 0080957102. Retrieved 13 September 2015. 

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