Navigators of Our Skies
Mr. Sergei Kulnazarov, Director General of the Republican State Enterprise Kazaeronavigatsia is interviewed by our magazine
Mr. Kulnazarov, please give us a portrait of the company you head today?
After independence, Kazakhstan has become the owner of its own skies, undertaken obligations to ensure flight security in its air space and provide air navigation services that meet international standards. At the same time, privatization of the airports and the growth of private airlines has led to significant changes in civil aviation. As a result, Kazaeronavigatsia, the state-owned comercial provider of air navigation services, was set up in mid 1995. It should be noted that this step was in complete conformance with recommendations of the ICAO, of which Kazakhstan is a full member.
The air navigation system in the USSR focused completely on servicing internal air traffic. Not only did it fail to meet the requirements of the international aviation community, but had also deteriorated significantly. Hence these are the tasks faced by Kazaeronavigatsia: air traffic planning, air traffic management within the country’s air space and aerodromes, providing air navigation information to flights, and the creation, development and operation of the domestic air navigation system.
Over a short period, Kazaeronavigatsia has taken a number of important measures to improve its organizational system, upgrade its equipment and optimize its own activities, all of which has helped us measure up to ICAO recommendations in terms of the services provided to users of Kazakhstan’s air space. As a result, the network of international transit air links expanded from 5,000km in 1995 to 60,000km in 2003.
Today our company comprises 17 branches and a head office in Almaty. We manage air traffic in the entire upper airspace of the country, which is divided into 11 areas of responsibility and 18 airdrome areas. The company’s main divisions are the Department for Radio Equipment Operation and Communication and the Air Traffic Control Service comprising the Air Navigation Information Service in addition to departments directly in charge of air traffic management. This structure ensures that Kazaeronavigatsia has centralized control over the production and administrative activities of the company.
What are the basic directions of development for Kazaeronavigatsia? What has been done or is planned?
In 1995-2002 our company invested a total of 11 billion tenge. These funds were spent on development programmes envisaging the restructuring of air traffic management authorities, establishing base centres for the automate air traffic management system, building a secondary radar system and making the transition to the use of secondary radar data as our main source of information, transferring the primary trace radars into a supplementary category, creating a continuous navigation field up to international standards along the main air corridors, reconstructing the communications system and making the transition to digital methods of information processing, and maintaining the air navigation complexes in a condition meeting flight safety requirements. As a result, the parameters of the basic subsystems of Kazakh air navigation have come into conformity with the requirements of international civil aviation.
Today the system is stable and sustainable, and has a handling capacity which exceeds actual air traffic by five or six times. This guarantees reliability and eliminates the need for expansion even if air traffic were to increase suddenly.
As a result of a successful investment strategy, the transit traffic was steadily growing until the 11th September 2001 when the global aviation suffered a severe crisis. Besides, it was the level of equipment used and development of air routes that contributed to a relatively fast rehabilitation of the previous level of air traffic after the crisis.
As for recent projects, Kazaeronavigatsia is carrying out an upgrade to the airdrome locator network and landing systems. We have also been establishing our own national system of air navigational information. The first booklet of air navigational information in the history of sovereign Kazakhstan has been published, special points for providing flight crew with air navigation information have been set up (Notam-office) and a briefing point established to service cabin crews.
Given that reliable communications are necessary for successful air navigation, could you tell us about the measures you are taking to ensure the highest quality communications?
Our programme for building and upgrading the automated air traffic management system (AATMS) is a powerful tool in boosting the level of safety. This will help a dispatcher to achieve high efficiency: he or she will not have to perform monotonous, routine operations and will have the opportunity to utilize their professional skills fully. At the same time, it will be quite hard to integrate all the subsystems of the AATMS into a homogenous system successfully unless an extensive, up-to-date digital communication network is used, since it is crucial in air navigation to receive large amounts of heterogeneous information (radar, planning, meteorological, etc).
This is especially typical of systems covering large territories such as ours. Although it is the world’s eighth largest country, Kazakhstan has a low population density. The bulk of its population is concentrated in a few relatively large cities, whilst vast expanses of desert and steppe are barely populated. This disproportion results in specific requirements in forming a general use telecom network characterized by an uneven density of sub-networks and network development levels that differ from region to region.
In contrast, the air navigation infrastructure is defined by the routes of air corridors; therefore other factors are critical in creating aviation telecommunications networks. The result is that general use networks fail to provide the required number of digital channels to meet the requirements of aviation telecommunications in regions with the highest demand for this service.
Under current conditions, developing the company’s own digital telecom network was the only way to ensure that AATMS has the necessary characteristics. It was designed using original data from Kazaeronavigatsia, taking account of the results of a system project carried out by Latvian air navigation specialists with the participation of Kazakh designers. This marriage of expertise and practical knowledge of local conditions and requirements helped our specialists to elaborate detailed technical requirements for the network rapidly, and begin to develop it.
The crucial part of the network-the Western Kazakhstan segment-has now been built, including two digital switching nodes in Almaty and Aktobe, and nine peripheral digital terminal stations at all the branch stations in the region. Each station exchanges information with AATMS centres: radar data and Air Navigation Fixed Telecom Networks messages. Voice transmission channels and ‘ground-to-air’ communication channels are provided.
In addition to the provision of sub-networks ensuring the exchange of specific information, each node contains a private digital exchange connected with Kazaeronavigatsia’s common network of administrative communications. This allows the utilization of redundancy, which is typical of aviation telecom networks, and also lowers costs.
The work of the entire corporate telecoms network is based on leasing digital communication channels from Kazakhtelecom-the national operator of the public network?and agency providers. For redundancy, channels of satellite stations are used, installed directly at switching nodes, which means the main and backup directions are evenly distributed geographically. To ensure a tie-in to the digital highway nodes of the public network, the communication lines between airports and municipal communication nodes were rehabilitated. For instance, worn-out copper cables were replaced with fibre-optic lines.
Not only does the system make the aviation network of Kazaeronavigatsia’s branches and the public network compatible, but it also provides the flexibility to change the capacity of communication directions at short notice, carry out reconfiguration and choose optimum data transmission paths.
This structure has also helped to evade the functional limitations of the AATMS resulting from the insufficient development of the aviation telecommunications subsystem, and has allowed the advantages of an automated system of air traffic management to be fully enjoyed.
In early 2004-mid 2005, the second phase of the project was completed: the launch of the Central Kazakhstan and South-eastern segments of the network. As a result, a homogenous telecoms subsystem of the national automated air traffic management system will be formed, and work on increasing the flight safety will receive a strong impetus. We hope these efforts will be appreciated by users of the airspace over Kazakhstan.
Can you assess the transit potential of Kazakhstan’s airspace and what is your company’s role in developing it?
Air transit across Kazakhstan is largely made up of flights by CIS airlines and non-CIS flights from Europe and Russia to Southeast and Central Asia. Given that the global air transportation market is estimated at $180-200 billion, and Europe-Southeast Asia traffic accounts for 3-4% of this, the transit potential from this direction may reach $5.5-8 billion. This sum is distributed across several transcontinental routes passing along three main corridors: across Kazakhstan; Russia-Mongolia-China, and the Black Sea-Transcaucasia-Iran. The choice of one route or another is up to the airlines that fly the routes. But the key factors are economic feasibility and the safety of flights.
The fact we service transit flights of foreign airlines means we have to have a full-featured national air navigation system. The basic parameters are compatibility with ICAO guidelines and practices and implementation of the requirements set by the Convention on International Civil Aviation, which covers any systems used in civil aviation by a country which is party to this convention.
This approach to the creation and maintenance of the national air navigation infrastructure ensures that it is recognized by foreign airlines as attractive and suitable for transit flights.
Can you please tell us about the interaction between Kazaeronavigatsia and the air navigation services of neighbouring countries and international organizations operating in this field?
Our company has now signed several agreements with the air navigation services of neighbouring countries to define the procedures for interaction between the various air traffic management bodies. The company’s specialists regularly participate in conferences, seminars and meetings held by international organizations in the field of civil aviation, both internationally and within the CIS. Kazaeronavigatsia is a member of CANSO (Civil Aviation Navigation Services Organization), Eurasia Co-ordination Council, the Flight Security non-profit partnership and other international institutions. We also receive delegations from foreign air navigation services and exchange experience in order to improve our organization and increase flight safety.
The Logic of Corporate Solutions Ilya Lapaev
Competitive Transit Capacity for Eurasia Kazhmurat Nagmanov
Navigators of Our Skies Sergei Kulnazarov
The Fifth Majilis Session: Deputies Summarize the Results Ivan Chirkalin
Traceca, a Route to the Future Thomas Lamnidis
Ispat Karmet: The Reincarnation of A Giant Nawal Kishore Choudhary
We are United - and Not Only by Oil! Morteza Saffari Natamzi
Seven Years of Honest Co-Operation Jiang Chi
Pipelines in Kazakhstan: the Legal Issues Abai Shaikenov, Anthony Cioni
Well-drilling by Professionals! Serik Kudaikulov
Creating Bankable Regional Electric Companies James M. Hogan
Power Telecommunications: the Technology of the Future Today Rodion Fazleyev
ISO 9001:2000: A New Management Approach Ramilya Mustafina