Implications of end-to-end communication for air traffic control

Air traffic control operators guide aircraft within their sectors using broadcast radio communication. In general, an aircraft trajectory crosses several sectors. When an aircraft changes sector, responsibility is transferred from one controller to another. 

This transfer of responsibility requires a complex radio communication procedure as it is performed via a third party, namely the aircrew. About 60% of today's air-ground radio communication is wholly or partly related to sector change procedures. Communication represents a major bottleneck for further growth in air traffic control capacity.In the long term, digital end-to-end communication (which is similar to mobile phone technology) will replace today's broadcast radio communication.

The end-to-end communication concept brings major benefit for aircrew and controllers. Among other things, end-to-end communication makes the internal air traffic control structure transparent for the aircrew.

The aircrew does not need to know the internal air traffic control structure for flight operation purposes, as the end-to-end communication system automatically links the aircraft calls to the controller responsible.

This paper discusses the problems and benefits of the end-to-end communication concept for air traffic control and shows how the broadcast radio communication standard currently in use might be adapted to provide a pseudo end-to-end air-ground voice communication system.


Implications of end-to-end communication for air traffic control