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New Traffic Management Tool Could Provide Preferred Reroutes
November 1, 2012
In the not-too-distant future, aircraft operators facing an en route constraint will have the opportunity to identify a range of reroute options they prefer and, thanks to a new air traffic management (ATM) tool called the Collaborative Trajectory Options Program (CTOP), may be able to minimize the impact of airspace constraints. CTOP is scheduled to roll out in autumn 2013.
In an education session held on Oct. 31 at NBAA2012, NBAA Air Traffic Services staffers Jim McClay and Ernie Stellings, along with two FAA representatives, briefed operators on how CTOP, an important piece of NextGen, will give them the opportunity to provide air traffic managers input on the potential reroutes they are assigned.
McClay explained briefly how CTOP would work: The FAA would identify a constraint, then operators would submit their route preferences – or a “trajectory option set” (TOS) in ATM parlance – ranking their choices in order of preference. Then ATM computer algorithms would analyze the options and assign the best available route in an effort to minimize delays.
Of course, if none of the reroute options were available, the flight would be subject to a ground delay. But those operators willing to adopt a tactical mindset and submit reroute options might be able to enjoy more expeditious handling, said McClay. He suggested that operators should consider using CTOP because participation in the collaborative program could mean the difference between departing or sitting on the ground and waiting.
Since many aircraft operators use flight plan service providers, the ability of those companies to create a TOS-capable interface will be key. McClay suggested that operators interested in participating in CTOP contact their service provider now to see if they have plans to develop such an interface.
NBAA Air Traffic Services (ATS) represents the interests of business aircraft operators from the floor of the FAA’s Air Traffic Control System Command Center to ensure equitable access to airports and airspace in the daily management of the National Airspace System. Learn more at www.nbaa.org/ats.