Australia signs deal to improve international aircraft arrivals

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January 30, 2019
International arrivals reliability Metron
Photo: Airservices Australia

Airservices Australia has signed a deal with Airbus subsidiary Metron Aviation to develop software for a pioneering project designed to increase the reliability of international aircraft arrivals.

Long range air traffic flow management (LR-ATFM) is expected to deliver a range of benefits to the aviation industry and the traveling public.

These include reduced aircraft fuel burn for airlines, increased air traffic predictability, better airport efficiency and reduced air traffic controller workload.

Airservices has been applying a limited form of LR-ATFM in Australia based on procedures and manual interaction.

But it has been looking for a technology-based solution to bring more orderly and predictable international arrivals.

One reason for this is that a single out-of-schedule international aircraft arrival at Melbourne Airport can cut aircraft landings from 34 an hour to 24 an hour.

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The Airservices contract will see Metron develop software to implement the LR-ATFM  concept.

The idea is for the long-range project to work with another major Airservices project involving major Australian airports, Airport Collaborative Decision making (A-CDM).

A-CDM sees airports, airlines, ground handlers and Airservices exchanging information in areas such as aircraft arrival, departure and turnaround times to boost operational efficiency and reduce delays.

LR-ATFM  will assign arrival times well in advance and allow for the most fuel-efficient flightpath when a delay is required because of capacity and demand problems at an airport.

It will deliver increased predictability and reduced fuel burn for long-haul airlines and Airservices expects that integrating it into the existing air traffic flow management system will deliver similar improvements for all inbound flights at the big airports.

Metron said it would integrate the LR-ATFM implementing software with its flagship ATFM product — Harmony for Air Navigation Service Providers — which has been used by Airservices since 2012.

“We are pleased to have been selected by Airservices Australia for development of the software for this groundbreaking concept,” said Metron president John Kefaliotis said. “Implementation of the concept will represent a significant first step in the movement of international aviation to Trajectory Based Operations.”

The Trajectory Based Operations concept aims to allow airlines to use their ideal routing while optimizing the flow of air traffic.