Boeing Frontiers
August 2003
Volume 02, Issue 04
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Air Traffic Management



Earth from spaceAt the 2003 Paris Air Show, Air Traffic Management signed an agreement that could have a big effect on future air transport systems around the world.

ATM penned the accord with the Air Traffic Alliance—a cooperative venture of Thales, Airbus and EADS—to work together on issues affecting the interoperability of future air transport systems so they can safely and efficiently handle projected long-term growth in aviation traffic. The key objective is to accelerate the definition and adoption by international organizations and governments of new global standards and procedures that enable seamless, safe and efficient global operations.

The agreement is a key step in Air Traffic Management's strategy to forge political and business alliances to support and accelerate ongoing air system modernization efforts around the world. It is also "an important step toward addressing interoperability issues on both sides of the Atlantic," said Lionnel Wonneberger, president of the Air Traffic Alliance. "It could lead to air system solutions that will help reduce travel delays, lower operational costs and minimize the environmental impact of aviation."

Aim: global interoperability

The business unit's main goal is to transform the global air traffic system. To that end, ATM is working closely with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to support air system modernization efforts in the United States while also turning attention toward air traffic system activities around the world.

This dual focus is deliberate, senior officials at ATM said. "Since global air traffic is expected to triple over the next 20 years, we planned a global strategy from the beginning," said John Hayhurst, president of Boeing Air Traffic Management. "Enabling safe, efficient and unconstrained growth in aviation around the world is in everyone's interests."

In a broader activity also designed to reach globally, ATM began in 2001 to assemble a Working Together Team.

Since that time, Boeing has expanded the group to more than 100 air traffic system users and service providers from around the world, including the United States, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.

The 18-month Working Together Team effort culminated recently in the release of "Working Together to Define the Future Global ATM System," which captures the values, needs, objectives and high-level requirements for a next-generation air traffic system, gathered from stakeholder participants in each area.

Act globally, focus locally

In addition to helping forge consensus on the path to a globally interoperable air traffic system, ATM is working to demonstrate how the collective expertise and capabilities of Boeing can help aviation authorities around the world meet both local and regional air system challenges.

ATM has partnered with Boeing Commercial Airplanes on a project with Luchtverkeersleiding Nederland (LVNL), the air traffic control authority of The Netherlands, to develop and validate solutions to enhance the safety, efficiency and environmental performance of operations at Schiphol Airport.

Boeing and LVNL are evaluating areas such as integrating aircraft and ground systems to enhance arrival operations around Schiphol, which should allow more efficient use of runway capacity and should result in reduced flight delays, improved fuel efficiency and shorter flight duration.

The team has successfully completed phase one, which involved determining the factors critical to improving airport operations. Phase two, which focuses on developing specific ideas to improve operational predictability and punctuality, has just started, said Rick Zelenka, ATM program manager for the effort. "The goal of this next phase," Zelenka said, "is to find ways to increase the operating efficiencies of airlines flying into Schiphol." The next phases of this project will also involve modeling and simulation activities, which will tap the expertise of a number of groups within Boeing and LVNL.

Carriers with service in China will benefit from an activity that ATM recently completed at the Beijing Capital International Airport. Air traffic levels at BCIA are expected to double over the next eight years. In response, a third runway will be added to the airport by 2004. A team from Boeing ATM, led by Australia-based subsidiary Preston Aviation Solutions, is helping Chinese aviation authorities ensure that the expansion will meet the airport's long-term capacity needs, including the expected spike in air traffic associated with the 2008 Olympic Games.

Preston's Total Airport and Airspace Modeller was used extensively on the Beijing project, which included the production of 32 simulation models developed to study the airport's current systems and future expansion plans.

The team studied terminal maneuvering area and ground operations at BCIA; analyzed current capacity constraints; provided recommendations for near-term capacity enhancement; offered alternative design scenarios to meet the demands of expected traffic growth in the next 15 years; and trained staff from the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China in the use of simulation tools, methods and analysis.

From Asia to Europe to the United States, one of Boeing's newest business units is hard at work addressing the political and technical challenges facing the world's air traffic system. The final results of this work are not in just yet, but if the progress made over the past two and a half years is any indication, there are great achievements ahead.


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