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Do you think Indian ATC is doing enough to reduce RT congestion in the skies ?
ATC Flow Management -Forty Fifth Issue, Jan - Feb- 2015

ATFM is a function of air traffic management (ATM) established with the objective of contributing to a safe, orderly, and expeditious flow of traffic while minimizing delays. This is accomplished through the dynamic use of operational traffic management initiatives supported by continuous coordination and analysis.

The purpose of ATFM is to balance air traffic demand with airspace and/or airport capacity to ensure the most efficient use of the airspace system. This is achieved by ensuring that capacity is utilized to the maximum extent possible and that air traffic volumes are compatible with the capacities declared by the appropriate air navigation service providers.

ATFM implementation should provide for the organization and handling of the flow of air traffic in such a way that, while ensuring the safe, orderly and expeditious flight of individual aircraft, the totality of the traffic handled at any given point or in any given area is compatible with the capacity of the air traffic control system.

The operation of ATFM service includes the application of ATFM measures that are designed to achieve the optimum flow of traffic. These measures include, but are not limited to :
a) Allocating and updating departure slots;
b) Allocating and updating arrival slots;
c) Allocating and updating en-route slots;
d) Re-routing of traffic;
e) Alternate flight profiles;
f) Minutes-in-trail assignments;
g) Mile-in-trail assignments;
h) Airborne holding; and
i) Ground holding.

One key to the successful implementation of an effective ATFM service is achieving a robust coordination among aviation stakeholders. It is envisioned that ATFM is performed as a collaborative decision-making process where airports, ANSPs, Airspace Users (AU), military entities, and other stakeholders work together to improve the overall performance of the ATM system. It is likewise envisioned that such coordination will take place within a Flight Information Region (FIR), between FIRs, and ultimately, between regions.

ATFM and its applications may not be restricted to one State or FIR because of their far-reaching effects on the flow of traffic elsewhere. The Procedures for Air Navigation Service – Air Traffic Management (PANS-ATM, Doc 4444) recognises this important fact, stating that ATFM should be implemented on the basis of a regional air navigation agreement or, when appropriate, as a multilateral agreement.

The benefits of ATFM lie in various domains of the ATM system:

A) operational;
1) enhanced ATM system safety;
2) increased system operational efficiency and predictability through collaborative decision-making processes;
3) effective management of capacity and demand through data analysis and planning;
4) increased situational awareness among stakeholders and a coordinated, collaborative development and execution of operational plans;
5) reduced fuel burn and operating costs; and
6) effective management of irregular operations and effective mitigation of system constraints and consequences of unforeseen events;

b) societal:
1) improved quality of air travel;
2) increased economic development through efficient and cost-effective services to the projected increased levels of air traffic;
3) reduction of aviation-related greenhouse gas emissions; and
4) mitigation of the effects of unforeseen events and situations of reduced capacity and effective, rapid recovery from them

Civil Air Traffic Flow Management (CATFM) (moca_001396.pdf)

Air traffic in the recent past at Indian Airports and in the airspace has grown exponentially and is likely to grow further in the immediate future. Airports Authority of India has taken initiatives to implement Central Air Traffic Flow Management system to optimize the capacity versus demand both strategically and dynamically by integrating various operational constraints and weather parameters. Mitigating measures and alternate actions to avoid congestion and delay for Air Traffic both in terminal /en route airspace and airports will be achieved through collaborative decision making process involving all stake holders including Airlines.

The ATFM project will be implemented by AAI through the US India Aviation Cooperation Program (ACP) and the US Trade Development Agency (USTDA) is providing a grant partially funding the project.

The implementation of ATFM will not only benefit the Indian Aviation Industry in terms of enhancement in ATM capabilities for improving Safety, Efficiency, Capacity of the Airspace/Airports and environmental benefits but also will contribute to Regional and Global ATM harmonization.

A regulatory process for overseeing the CDM process including the adherence to slots by Airlines/ swapping slots when required/ effective monitoring of „On-time performance‟ etc. should be devised.


(49th Conference of Directors General of Civil Aviation Asia and Pacific Regions)

This paper signified collaboration as a successful tool in achieving the highest goals of efficiency of attaining ATFM and sharing the best practices to enhance safety, security and sustainability of air transportation services in the Asia/Pacific Region. Such collaboration will help authorities to avoid duplication of efforts as well as enable them to better share information and reduce work load.

The paper noted that the Asia Pacific Region as a whole had been experiencing a steep increase in traffic and in order to accommodate the increasing traffic and provide efficient and safe operations, airspace, aerodrome and even airport terminal capacity and capability need to be improved. Cooperation and collaboration are key enablers for the Seamless Air Traffic Management (ATM) initiative, which involved all operational factors, including new ATM procedures that increase airspace capacity.

The paper also noted that ICAO had always been in the forefront in accepting the ever increasing challenges. In its ongoing mission to foster a global civil aviation system that consistently and uniformly operates at peak efficiency and provides optimum safety, security and sustainability ICAO had established Strategic Objectives. Furthermore in continuation of its ongoing efforts ICAO will establish 5 Strategic Objectives for the next triennium 2014-2016- Safety, Capacity, Security, Economic Development of Air Transport and Environmental Protection.

The paper further highlighted the importance of airspace optimization and the need for a coordination mechanism to gain access to military administered airspace for civil use. States were encouraged to develop integrated sub-regional ATFM systems and Collaborative Decision-Making (CDM) process for better functioning traffic flow management. The paper stated that close civil-military coordination was imperative for optimizing airspace utilizations and achieving a seamless ATM operation environment for the Asia/Pacific Region, in addition to Collaborative Decision-Making (CDM) which is an important component of Air Traffic Flow Management (ATFM) and Seamless ATM initiatives. Airport Collaborative Decision Making (A-CDM) is a concept which aimed at improving Air Traffic Flow and Capacity Management at airports by reducing delays, improving the predictability of events and optimizing the utilization of resources. A-CDM is about partners working together and making decisions based on more accurate and higher quality information that has the exact same meaning for every partner involved. An opportunity for better use of resources, improved punctuality and predictability is the result. Better punctuality will also lead to reduced fuel consumption and lower emissions.

The paper concluded by stating that as the level of air traffic increases globally so to must safety standards applied at international airports. The biggest challenge for airports is to secure enough capacity in the years to come and at the same time to deliver cheap services to high safety standards. Aviation safety while always a priority will now demand millions of dollars more investment in the immediate term.
Collected and Contributed By
Sh. L. K.Tuli, AGM ATM, Ahmedabad Airport.

The Air Traffic Controllers' Day is on October 20, To celebrate most proudly the profession of Air Traffic Control, and fly together to new heights in the spirit of cooperation and collaboration with the entire Aviation Community, Air Traffic Controllers Of India and Partners in Aviation celebrates the ATC DAY with the vow to uphold safety and security in the skies.