A brand-new approach surveillance radar entered its first day of operation at Larnaca airport on Tuesday, according to a statement released by the transport ministry.

In aviation, an approach surveillance radar (ASR) is a type of radar instrument approach provided with active assistance from air traffic control. The only airborne radio equipment required for radar approaches is a functioning radio transmitter and receiver.

“Today is an extremely important day for the Air Traffic Control Service of Cyprus, as the new ASR starts operating at Larnaca airport,” the statement said.

Transport ministry permanent secretary Stavros Michael was present during the launch of the ASR, with Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos participating remotely.

“The new system is expected to significantly improve both the safety and efficiency levels of the services offered by the airport’s control tower, as aircraft will be more closely monitored until their landing.

“The air traffic control will now have a complete and accurate view of traffic in the terminal area of the airport, which extends over a radius of approximately 60 nautical miles, thus increasing safety levels.

“Moreover, in cases where aircraft need specific guidance for technical problems or other reasons, such as severe weather, it will now be possible to provide pilots with specific and precise routes so that they can safely approach the airport for landing,” the statement said.

Experts from Greece will train personnel at Larnaca airport during the first weeks of the ASR’s operations.

“With the implementation of this system, Cyprus is now on the map of countries that offer high quality services to both airlines and passengers,” Karousos said.

“The ASR is indicative of the continuous improvement and upgrading of the Civil Aviation Department, with the application of the most modern methods and tools.

“Particularly at this time of the year, when we have already entered the tourist season and an increase in arrivals and departures is expected, the use of such tool will help managing air traffic, while keeping high levels of safety and reducing delays as much as possible,” he concluded.