ATS Messaging Management Centre - AMC
The AMC started its operational service in January 2007. It is implemented by EUROCONTROL to provide off-line network management services in support of the ground ATS Messaging network of Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) in Europe.
This network integrates the Aeronautical Fixed Telecommunications Network (AFTN), the Common ICAO Data Interchange Network (CIDIN) and the ATS Message Handling System (AMHS) to transparently deliver operational ATS Messages such as flight plans, between users and hosts in ANSPs, airlines, etc. on a global basis.
Networks organised under the auspices of ICAO are classified into the Aeronautical Fixed and the Aeronautical Mobile services.
The AMC was developed upon a request from the ICAO European Air Navigation Planning Group (EANPG). To achieve this goal, EUROCONTROL worked in close co-operation with the ICAO Aeronautical Fixed Service Group (AFSG), a working group of the EANPG, to develop the ATS Messaging Management Manual (ICAO EUR Doc 21) that defines the AMC concept, and functions and procedures for centralised management of the ATS messaging network. EUROCONTROL completed development and implementation in November 2006.
The AMC is composed of AMC systems and of an AMC operator team, through which the service operation is outsourced to personnel of European ANSPs. The AMC operators are responsible for the day-to-day operations and execution of the centralised part of the management procedures, which are based on the AIRAC cycle. The AMC is the European focal point for ATS Messaging Management, and will coordinate with communication centres and management centres in other ICAO Regions focusing on aspects of global significance for international network management.
The primary users of the AMC are the International Communication Centres of ANSPs in the European and North Atlantic ICAO Regions. The AMC services are used by the Communications Centres for the purpose of planning, configuration and performance management of their own network equipment. Project leaders of AMHS deployment projects are also typical users of AMC implementation support functions. Other categories of users are also defined to cover the various roles and associated rights of potentially interested persons.
The ATS Messaging Management Manual describes the organizational framework in which ATS Messaging Management is implemented in the EUR/NAT Regions. The Manual specifies AMHS off-line Management Implementation Support Functions (AMF-I) and AMHS off-line Management Operations Functions (AMF-O) that are implemented in the ATS Messaging Management Centre.
AMF-I functions and AMF-O functions are intended for two different user categories: the goal of AMF-I functions is mainly to provide support to States that are in the process of implementing AMHS, and do not yet have AMHS in operational use. AMF-O functions are primarily directed to Co-operating COM Centres (CCCs), most of them being already involved in CIDIN Management, that have AMHS in operational use, in order to help managing the Regional transition from AFTN/CIDIN to AMHS.
The key functions of the AMC are address management and routing management. Address management is of utmost importance for efficient AMHS operation. It enables to coordinate the modification and distribution of AMHS addresses, as well as the synchronisation of address changes in the AMHS network, in the ATS Message User Agents and AFTN/AMHS Gateways. With routing management, AFTN, CIDIN and AMHS routing tables are defined consistently for the seamless operation of the network, and they are distributed to all COM Centres in the Region.
The network inventory, network planning, routing management and support functions existed for AFTN and CIDIN network technologies as part of CIDIN Management. These functions were complemented with AMHS-related information, to become part of the AMC so as to equally cover AMHS, CIDIN and AFTN. Other functions were developed to provide comprehensive AMHS Management, such as user capabilities management or statistics.
The AMF-O functions are performed in accordance with operational procedures which enable changes in the COM Centres to be coordinated and synchronised, taking place on AIRAC dates. The procedures are based on the organisational of each AIRAC cycle in five AMC operational phases.
The AMC has emerged as a natural focal point for distribution of information about matters not only related to network operation, but also to network implementation, particularly with regard to AMHS which is beginning to be deployed. The AMC therefore also includes AMHS off-line management implementation support functions, to provide States that are in the process of implementing AMHS with a set of guidance and implementation co-ordination functions.
AMC Systems and AMC Participants
The AMC where management functions are carried out is made up of two components:
- systems for maintaining the central repository of network. They are called "AMC Systems" and they are under the responsibility of EUROCONTROL.
- the ATS Messaging Management operating position, manned by the "AMC Operators."
AMC users are classified into four user categories depending upon their roles and locations.
AMC Operators and all categories of AMC users access the AMC using connections over the Internet which are secured by access control procedures.
The AMC operates under the aegis of the ICAO EANPG, in accordance with the following chart. Regular monitoring of AMC activities is performed by the Operations Group (OG), which reports yearly to the AFSG.
The AMC coverage
Currently 45 States in the EUR/NAT Region have designated CCC Operators and participate in ATS Messaging Management using the AMC.
Use of AMC by External COM Centre Operators in other ICAO Regions has also started and is expected to grow significantly.
To facilitate the operation of CIDIN on a regionally co-ordinated basis, a CIDIN Management Manual was developed as part of the ICAO EUR-AFS and Aeronautical Fixed Service Group (AFSG) working groups, under the aegis of the European Air Navigation Planning Group (EANPG). EUROCONTROL was subsequently invited by the EANPG to undertake implementation of centralised CIDIN Off-line Management Functions on the basis of the CIDIN Management Manual. This was performed between 2000 and 2001, and the result of this work was a management system called “CIDIN Management Centre” (CMC). The CMC service has been provided by EUROCONTROL under the auspices of the ICAO EUR/NAT Office from 2001 until beginning of 2007.
As a follow up to the EANPG decision, EUROCONTROL undertook in September 2004 and completed in May 2005 the development of the ATS Messaging Management Manual. This Manual introduces the concept of ATS Messaging Management, which is the Management of the integrated AFTN/CIDIN/AMHS messaging environment. Following the endorsement of the ATS Messaging Management Manual by the AFSG/8 meeting in April 2005, EUROCONTROL started the implementation of the ATS Messaging Management Centre (AMC) in October 2005 and completed the work in November 2006. The operation of AMC started in January 2007.
In parallel with the start of AMC operational service, coordination was started with other ICAO Regions regarding the organization and implementation of AMHS Management at a global level. The urgency of starting such global management was recognised. The AMC was identified by ANSPs in the EUR/NAT and ASIA/PAC Regions, as well as by the U.S. FAA, as the only system capable of meeting the short term requirements created by the AMHS deployment process which is currently underway world wide.