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Performance based ATM moves a step closer

In November, Helios exhibited at the 12th Air Navigation Conference (ANC) at ICAO in Montreal. Helios shares our conclusions about the outcomes.

ANCs are only held once every ten years and are essential in setting the global direction for air traffic management (ATM). ANC/12 was specifically called to endorse a new "Global Air Navigation Plan" based on the Aviation System Block Upgrades – ASBUs. The ABSUs are important and they will be with us for a long time. They establish a proposed progression of capability for ATM systems and are closely aligned with the SESAR and NextGen programmes. They should also provide regions outside of Europe and the USA with confidence that suitable solutions will exist for their own future requirements. An important message at the ANC was that States and regions can select from the appropriate ASBUs to meet their needs – they do not have to implement everything.

So how should States respond? The key is to understand local airspace user expectations and identify how to close the gap between current and required performance. This is known as 'performance based ATM' and it requires a State (or region) to tailor modernisation programmes to its own needs.

The business case will be fundamental to decision-making. Regions with capacity issues will require different solutions to those regions seeking to address cost-effectiveness and safety.

Our own experience of CBAs over the years tells me that new avionics can only be justified by large scale implementations that resolve significant capacity shortfalls. Many regions of the world are not capacity constrained; this means they will want to work with current avionics and focus on building new ground based capabilities, like regional Air Traffic Flow Management, Airport Collaborative Decision Making and controller automation. For them, the revolutions preached by SESAR and NextGen − which require new avionics − will be harder to justify.

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