Enhanced tactical flow management system

We provide enhanced tactical data to all operational stakeholders.

The Enhanced tactical flow management system (ETFMS) provides enhanced tactical data to all operational stakeholders, regardless of national boundaries, language, or equipment. ETFMS facilitates improvements in flight management from the pre-planning stage to the arrival of the flight. It maximises the updating of flight-related data and thus improves the real picture of a given flight, thereby contributing to the gate-to-gate concept.

The ETFMS has two main functions:

  • Calculation of traffic demand in every sector of the NM area of operations, using the flight plan information received from the aircraft operators (AOs) via the initial flight plan processing system (IFPS);
  • Computer-assisted slot allocation (CASA) – a more complex calculation, slot allocation and distribution of the resulting lists to all parties involved.

Collection of flight and pre-flight data

Through our ETFMS, we provide an accurate update of the real-time flight situation prior to take-off and the arrival time calculated by the company once the aircraft is airborne. To do so we rely on our data collection service (DCS) to retrieve information from filed flight plans and add to those, data generated from airports and air traffic control.

Flight activation monitoring

The EUROCONTROL Network Manager uses its flight activation monitoring (FAM) function to manage pre-departure traffic demand.

The ETFMS monitors flight evolution data received from the network. FAM makes it possible for the system to identify flights which were expected to take-off but are still on the ground. It uses this data to act directly upon the flights which are not airborne at the expected time by adjusting the flight planning or by prompting the airspace user to provide a flight plan update through a flight suspension.

This frees up air traffic flow management (ATFM) slots, thus reducing delays for flights which are not yet airborne. FAM affects all flights which depart from or arriving at aerodromes in the FAM-enabled areas.

Entry and sector occupancy counts

The ETFMS can only monitor the number of flights entering a sector once an hour (the entry counts) as well as the number of flights which are actually present in a given sector every minute (the sector occupancy counts). The use of occupancy counts improves the decision-making process, leading to the implementation of ground delay regulations or short-term air traffic capacity management measures (STAMs).

They enable SESAR’s dynamic demand capacity balancing (dDCB) concept, which improves ATFCM safety and capacity by reducing traffic complexity and streamlining air traffic controller workload.

Flight profile calculations

The ETFMS uses real-time flight data updates, wind speed and wind direction in the calculation of the ATFM flight plan profiles to improve the accuracy of flight profile calculations. We receive MET data every six hours, containing forecasts for the next 36 hours in blocks of six hours.

Flights departing from departure planning information (DPI) transmitting aerodromes may update the flight calculations by including data about the estimate time when the departure aircraft will be ready for take-off - estimated take-off time (ETOT). ETOT accuracy depends on the target and pushback times provided by aircraft operators and air traffic controllers, and takes into account individual taxi and sequencing times. We use this information to update our own systems and to share it among all other users.

Our system also adapts if a flight is diverted – based on correlated position report (CPR) information, the ETFMS’s current tactical flight model (CTFM) will show the new aerodrome of destination (ADES).

Data distribution

When significant flight updates are made, ETFMS distributes its tactical ATFM flight data and trajectories to ANSPs, AOs and airports via our Data Distribution Service (DDS). This information is used by the respective flow management positions (FMP) to assess how traffic demand varies over the operational day. Where traffic demand is higher than ATFM capacity, the FMP can implement a flow control measure to manage the rate of traffic inbound to a particular network flow or airport. This gives a common overview of the current and expected situation, allowing CDM.