NEW AIR CHART DELAYS ATCS PROJECT
The new flight management system of the Air Traffic Control Service (ATCS) has been delayed again. January 31 was fixed as the deadline by which the project executor - the Italian Alenia Marconi System, had to finish its preliminary testing of the currently constructed United Aircraft Traffic Management Centre. However, the work has not been completed yet.Tsvetan Dilov, Director General of ATCS, explained to the BANKER weekly that the delay of about a week was due to the Christmas and New Year holidays. Tests will be over no later than mid-February. However, it doesn't mean the work is not going on as scheduled, Dimitar Dimitrov, Transport Ministry PR expert, added.According to well-informed sources, the Italians also motivated the extention of the term with the changed airways in the European air network introduced by the European Aircraft Safety Agency - Eurocontrol. The changes became valid on December 25, 2003. They were further extended on January 22, 2004 because of the forthcoming Olympics in Greece. Alenia Marconi informed the Transport Ministry that the changes made it necessary for the company to change its system software which is based on the old air chart. However, the Transport Ministry denied that the new airways above Europe might be a reason for the delay.January 31 was the deadline for completing the tests of the new system, as a scandal flared up in end-2003 when four officers of ATCS were accused of sabotage. One of them was Alexander Krustev, Vice General Manager of ATCS. Instead of firing the four, the Minister of Transport Nikolay Vassilev decided to only eliminate them from the Italian project. In the meantime, rumours spread that some of ATCS officials keep showing disagreement with the project of Alenia. The information was immediately denied.