The concept of flexible use of airspace is part of Airspace Organization and Management under the framework of the ICAO pursuant to the document, Circular 330 Civil/Military Cooperation in Air Traffic Management, governing military-civil air traffic cooperation. The core of FUA does not designate exclusive military or civil airspace. Rather, FUA involves use and management of airspace, which is a commonly owned national resource, for optimum benefit. Consideration has been given to needs for the use of both military and civil airspace users of every type and kind. Hence, minimal impact on the flight usage of both parties is essential based on collaborative decision-making through full disclosure of information as deemed fitting.
Airspace Management can be categorized into the following three levels. Each level has the following responsibilities:
- Strategic Level – Performs the duty of setting or reviewing airspace policy in addition to allocating airspace use, establishing or supervising airspace management agencies together, jointly prescribe, plan and modify airspace structure; prioritize airspace utilization needs, airspace allocation negotiation and authorization procedures.
- Pre-Tactical Level – Performs the duty of planning and making decisions to divide airspace for routine daily use; communicates to distribute airspace utilization plans to all parties involved.
- Tactical Level – Performs the duty of real-time airspace utilization; coordinates when emergency area utilization is requested or adjusts area utilization plans from agreements at the Pre-Tactical Level.
- Implementation of the Flexible Use of Airspace (FUA) concept at the tactical level already exists and has begun to expand by considering more joint utilization guidelines at the strategic level. However, this concept has no practice guidelines for pre-tactical planning to make advanced airspace utilization plans on a day-to-day basis, thereby resulting in the founding of the Thai Civil/Military ATM Coordination Centre (Thai-CMAC).
Roles and Duties
The Thai Civil/Military ATM Coordination Centre (Thai-CMAC) is an airspace management at the Pre-Tactical Level.
- Thai-CMAC is an AMC (Airspace Management Cell), a central agency functioning to coordinate and plan between the military and the ART Air Traffic Management Center (ATMC), including airspace management based on utilization characteristics with other agencies requiring the use of airspace.
- Thai-CMAC is the central agency for effective airspace allocation and management in response to national objectives, benefits and security.
- Thai-CMAC works with other related agencies to designate temporary airspace utilization such as Royal Rain operations, flight practices by various schools and various annual training such as COBRA GOLD, COPE TIGER, BALANCE TEAK TORCH and traffic flight practices by the Kamphaengsaen Flying Training School, etc.
- Thai-CMAC is a center for the collection and dissemination of data on various types of airspace utilization planning, conditional routes and other daily tasks.
- Thai-CMAC provides data support for ATMC in planning Flexible Use of Airspace Level 2/Pre-Tactical FUA).
- Thai-CMAC collects specified airspace utilization data daily for subsequent analysis and development.
Thai-CMAC hours are regular business hours on Monday to Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., except for official holidays, public holidays and holidays specified by the government. ART and RTAF officials work together in the current Network Operations Air Traffic Management Center during the aforementioned business hours.
In coordinating to design airspace utilization plans after 5:00 p.m. or outside business hours, ART officials accept cases, coordinate directly with DAOC and issue daily airspace utilization plans or flight route utilization conditions.