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Serco establishes UK’s first Radio Mandatory Zone at Hawarden airport

Published: 4 May 2017

Serco has established the UK’s first Radio Mandatory Zone (RMZ), at Hawarden Airport in North Wales.  It is the first permanent overland RMZ in the UK to be approved by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and its creation at the start of April followed over two years of consultation with local pilots, airport operators, nearby Air Traffic Control Units and owners of private landing sites in the vicinity.

The RMZ is a designated area of airspace around the airport that was proposed by Serco’s Hawarden Air Traffic Control (ATC) team and that has been approved by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).  

When pilots wish to enter the RMZ they are required to contact Hawarden ATC to pass specific information on their flight.  Primarily, pilots are required to establish and maintain communication with ATC whilst within the RMZ.  Alternatively pilots can use the newly approved Hawarden Frequency Monitoring Code (FMC).  By selecting a specific code on their transponder it will indicate on radar that the aircraft is monitoring the Hawarden frequency. Using this, the ATCO can contact an aircraft quickly and easily as they are already listening out on the frequency.

Given that not all aircraft are fitted with radios, Serco has also set up alternative ways for pilots to contact Hawarden ATC with the details required, using telephone, email or SMS prior to commencing the flight.

Mark Downes, Serco’s Air Traffic Services manager at Hawarden Airport ATC Unit, said: “Hawarden’s RMZ approval is very exciting as it’s the first of its kind within the UK.   Before the RMZ existed pilots operating in the vicinity of the airport had no obligation to contact Hawarden Air Traffic Control, so we had to give these aircraft a very wide berth.  Introducing an RMZ gives us a full picture of the varied aviation activities around Hawarden, which helps us enhance flight safety whilst improving the efficiency of the services to all aircraft.”

Serco is one the world’s largest independent air navigation services providers, delivering air traffic control and a range of critical air navigation services at Dubai International Airport, the largest commercial air hub on the globe serving 70 million passengers annually and over 125 international airlines as well as at many small regional and city airports.  We are the only commercial provider to encompass the three disciplines of tower operations, approach control, and en-route centres.  Serco also provides the majority of non-military operation and maintenance services at the Goose Bay military airport located in Labrador, Canada.