How Business Aviation Minimizes its Impact on the ATC System and Benefits its Members

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ARTICLE: A Day in the Life: NBAA ATS Works to Reduce Delays


The Air Traffic Control system, even before NextGen, has always been a bit of an enigma—

  • What does it do to manage flight?
  • What can a controller do to avoid problems?
  • What can a user do to reduce a bad situation?

The integration of airline operational control organizations with the FAA System Command Center is primarily an information sharing link. The airlines no longer have full time staff at the FAA’s facility because their ability to respond to tactical problems is limited.

The above link takes the reader to a detailed explanation of how the National Business Aviation Association’s representatives at the FAA’s facility work. Their contributions are measured both in improving the time value of its members by better routings and enhancing the flow of the ATC by moving those aircraft away from congestion.

The story is set in a timeline format; so it conveys how, on a minute-by-minute basis, the NBAA staff creates win/win solutions. It may seem mundane, but the capacity benefits are not insubstantial.

One of the major debates over user fees was how to cost these charges for use of the airspace. One set of cost analysts asserted that each use of the navigable airways should bear an equal cost burden. The argument was that each blip on the radar screen compelled the ATC pipeline size to expand.

This NBAA article demonstrates that these per capita cost analysts failed to understand a fundamental difference in operational missions. Airlines publish schedules and once passengers read them, they rely on them. For example, the 9 am flight bank at O’Hare must push back without regard to weather conditions or airspace congestion. Their operations do push to expand the ATC tube. The examples of how the NBAA members, when apprised of ATC problems, will advance or delay their departure as well as reroute the flight paths to minimize their impacts on the system.

This story is intended to show NBAA members the value of their dues – that by subscribing to this service, their aircraft can get to their destination more effectively. The text does that quite well. The author also made the case that business aviation works with the system to minimize the impact on the system. Many of its flights avoid the “pressure points” within the ATC and reduces the need to expand its capacity. Their “blips” move to the less congested radar sector and by so doing minimize their capacity demands while improving the efficiency of the NBAA flights.

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