The Ministry of Infrastructure, Communication and Transportation (SICT) published a new Mexican Official Norm (NOM) that will require airships to integrate Airborne Collision Avoidance Systems (ACAS II) 7.1.
The first version of NOM-069-STC3-2010 was first published on Feb. 4, 2011, turning now into NOM-069-STC3-2019. It forces fixed-wing aircraft that operate in Mexican airspace to incorporate the 7.1 version of ACAS II, which is required by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). According to the decree, the new norm will come into effect in March 2023, 180 natural days after the publication of the decree.
SICT stated that airships must start using the 7.1 version of ACAS II this year as Mexico committed with ICAO to improve airspace security. Last year, the US Federal Aviation Administration downgraded Mexico’s airspace security to Category 2 due to the lack of the minimum safety conditions set by ICAO. “This NOM complies with international standards and meets the requirements of concessionaries, permit holders and air operators to maintain an acceptable level of security in Mexican airspace. Every airspace operation must be opportunely and appropriately regulated via NOMs, aiming at guaranteeing the security of aircraft, crews and passengers,” SICT stated.
The first approach to Nom-069 was elaborated considering ICAO’s recommendations at the time. Nonetheless, federal authorities realized that the implementation of such a radar system was not possible in all models of airships due to the low availability of updated technology in the market. Even though authorities realized the need to adopt this NOM, the issue did not become relevant until the construction of the Felipe Angeles International Airport (AIFA), which modified Mexico’s airspace.
The three-airport strategy, consisting of the simultaneous operation of Mexico City International Airport (AICM), Toluca International Airport and AIFA, led SICT to consider updating NOM-069, which was analyzed by the Federal Commission for Regulations Improvement (COFEMER).
ACAS II is an aircraft system based on Secondary Surveillance Radar (SSR) transponder signals. It was introduced to reduce the risk of mid-air collisions or near mid-air collisions and serves as a last resort safety net irrespective to any separation standards. The system is independent from land systems and air traffic controllers, which helps pilots to avoid possible conflicts between aircraft with the same technology.