Air Traffic Flow Management (ATFM) is the collaborative process of managing air traffic flow into airspace or airport to ensure appropriate balance between air traffic demand and the airspace / airport Air Traffic Service (ATS) capacity. The ATS capacity in a given location is determined through an analytical process taking into account, inter alia, geographical characteristics and limitations, Air Traffic Controllers’ procedures and workload, and navigation and surveillance capabilities.
Key objective of an ATFM process is to manage the amount of traffic within area of responsibility (airspace or airports) to ensure smooth flow of flights and balance between traffic demand and capacity, while maintain highest level of safety and benefits to all stakeholders involved. There are many different ATFM measures that can be used depending on situations and necessities, e.g.
- Strategic ATFM Measures: airport slot adjustments through Airport Slot Coordination process, control of special flight permissions;
- Pre-Tactical ATFM Measures: Calculated Take-Off Time (CTOT) or Allocated Wheels-Up Time (AWUT) in conjunction with ground delay program at the airport;
- Tactical ATFM Measures: level capping, miles-in-trail, airborne holding.
Benefits of ATFMThe benefits of ATFM are abundant, and are categorized here into operational and societal benefits.
- Enhanced Air Traffic Management (ATM) safety;
- Increased system operational efficiency and predictability;
- Effective management of demand and capacity;
- Increased situational awareness among stakeholders and a coordinated collaborative development and execution of operational plans;
- Reduced fuel burn and operating costs;
- Effective management of irregular operations and effective mitigation of unforeseen constraints and consequences.
- Improved quality of air travel
- Increased economic development through capability to handle projected traffic growth
- Reduced aviation-related greenhouse gas emissions;
- Mitigation of the effects of unforeseen events and situations of reduced capacity along with coordinated recovery solutions.
AEROTHAI and Cross-Border ATFM Initiatives
Bay of Bengal Cooperative ATFM System (BOBCAT)
BOBCAT is a system that calculates Allocated Wheels-Up Time (AWUT) to flights intending to fly from Asia-Pacific through Kabul FIR into Europe. By sequencing flights through AWUT, BOBCAT is able to help decongest Kabul FIR during peak traffic hours and to aid flights in achieving optimum flight levels and minimally-interrupted cruises. This system has since helped airlines in saving more than 110 million kilograms of fuel burn and more than US$ 110 million (approximately THB 4 billions), thus putting AEROTHAI at the forefront of Cross-Border ATFM initiatives.
Distributed Multi-Nodal ATFM Operational Trial
The Distributed Multi-Nodal ATFM Network concept has been adopted by Asia-Pacific States as the foundation of regional Cross-Border ATFM implementation. AEROTHAI and partner ANSPs mentioned above are now engaged in the Operational Trial project to validate the concept in real environment, leading up to full implementation subsequently. The Operational Trial project has been systematically conducted since June 2015 and has seen proven success in various capacity constraining situation since.
AEROTHAI serves as one of the leading ANSPs in this project, with personnel serving on the Project Core Team driving the project forward since the very beginning. This is another role AEROTHAI plays as one of the ATFM leaders in the Asia-Pacific region.