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SITA partners Stratech to combat FOD on Runways

Travel News Asia Latest Travel News Podcasts Wednesday, 9 July 2008

In a major initiative to support airlines and airports battling against increasing costs from Foreign Objects and Debris (FOD) on runways, SITA has partnered Stratech Systems to make an intelligent vision-based airfield/runway surveillance system available to its airport customers to identify, track and display FOD in real time.

Following a successful 15-month trial, Stratechs all-weather iFerret solution is being deployed along Runways 1 and 2 at Singapores Changi Airport. It is also being trialled by the US Federation Aviation Administration this coming winter at Chicagos OHare International Airport.

Testing at Changi Airport showed that the iFerret FOD detection system was able to reliably detect foreign objects left on the runway surface down to 2 cm in size under 16 mm/hr of rainfall. It also proved reliable under night-time conditions and with environmental factors such as aircraft movements, ambient lighting, rain, shadows or clouds.

Bruno Frentzel, SITA Senior Vice President, Application Services, said, Foreign objects and debris on runways is not only a major safety issue but it also costs around $4 billion annually in direct costs to the aviation industry. This figure can be doubled or tripled when indirect costs such as flight delays are taken into account.

SITA is very pleased to enter this strategic partnership with Stratech which will enable us to offer our airport customers worldwide the possibility of using this outstanding technology for real time detection of FOD which will minimize flight disruption, improve aircraft landing slot yield at airports and provide safety levels which will attract new airlines. By reducing damage to the aircraft blades which impacts engine efficiency, it will also help airlines to reduce their fuel bills and carbon footprint.

Dr. David K.M. Chew, Executive Chairman, Stratech, added, Runways are a scarce and valuable resource. Using iFerret, air traffic and ground operations control staff can visually assess the FOD identified on a remote screen display without having to physically visit the runway. They can take immediate action to clear the FOD.

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