Isavia is in the process of implementing ADS-B service in the Reykjavik control area south of 70°N. ADS-B (Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast) is an advanced technology used for surveillance in air traffic control. Properly equipped aircraft transmit their position on 1090 MHz frequently (every 1 sec is common). The signal can be received by an ANSP (Air Navigation Service Provider) using ground stations or by other aircraft where it can be displayed on a screen in the cockpit. The signal received using the ground stations is sent to a tracker which will send an accurate surveillance track to the air traffic controller‘s screen. ADS-B is more accurate and gives more frequent update of aircraft‘s position than radar.

Isavia has installed 22 ADS-B receivers stations in Iceland, Greenland, and Faroe Islands.The system creates a Transatlantic surveillance corridor allowing a reduction of aircraft separation. Reduced separation means less restriction on aircraft routing and altitude compared to oceanic separation leading to reduced fuel consumption and reduced CO2 emission.

In order to receive ADS-B service aircraft must be equipped with a proper transponder connected to the aircraft’s GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System). Since 2006 Isavia has been monitoring the equipage rate in Reykjavík CTA. The Equipage Rate has risen from 50% to 90% of all aircraft sending out an ADS-B signal. In October 2011 70% of aircraft transiting through Reykjavik CTA were sending out an ADS-B signal good enough to be used for air traffic control.

Surveillance at Isavia

Isavia currently utilizes radar plots from seven radar sites in Iceland, Faroe Islands, and Shetland Islands. Four radar sites are operated by the Icelandic Coast Guard, one by Isavia, one by Naviair and one by UK NATS. Radar plots from all seven radar sites are sent to a central Radar Data Processing System (RDPS). The RDPS creates a combined track for each aircraft visible to one or more radar sites and sends the track to the air traffic controller’s screen called ISDS (Integrated Situation Display System). Together the radar sites provide unified radar coverage for Reykjavik CTA South and East sectors.

Reykjavik CTA. Current radar coverage is marked green.

Eight ADS-B ground stations have been installed in Iceland. A new tracker, ARTAS, has been implemented allowing simultaneous tracking of radar and ADS-B information. The new ADS-B system will provide air traffic controllers with more accurate and more frequent position information on aircraft.

Ten ADS-B ground stations have been installed in Greenland and four stations in Faroe Islands. The stations in Greenland will for the first time introduce surveillance service in Reykjavik CTA West sector and thereby start a new era in air traffic control by enabling aircraft to cross the Atlantic Ocean within continuous surveillance service.


Isavia's surveillance corridor.
Fríhöfnin Tern Systems