The advanced air traffic flow management (ATFM) system deployed by South Africa’s Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS) has been named by Jane’s Airport Review as the winner of the 2010 Enabling Technology Award for contribution to enhanced capacity and safety. The ATFM system, provided by Thales and Metron Aviation, is deployed at ATNS’ Central Airspace Management Unit (CAMU) and provides a system-wide view for managing the entire region, approximately ten percent of the global airspace. The solution utilises end-to-end collaborative decision making (CDM) to increase capacity utilisation and enables airlines to optimise operations by dynamically managing their allocated slots.

Over the last decade, tourism and travel in South Africa has steadily increased by approximately 7% each year. With the increase in aircraft, passengers and total air traffic movements, South Africa felt they needed to more efficiently manage airspace while enhancing safety. When South Africa was awarded the FIFA 2010 World Cup™, airspace optimisation and management became an even larger challenge.

“This ATFM system helps us optimise capacity and redefines the way we work with airlines,” said Patrick Dlamini, CEO of ATNS. “The Central Airspace Management Unit can now predict the traffic flow well in advance which will help us to put proactive measures to efficiently and safely control traffic.”

“Thales is proud to provide ATNS with an innovative solution that will provide timely and accurate information on any event affecting the flow of air traffic and capacity of the airspace,” said Remi Gille, managing director for Thales’ air traffic management business. “Thales and Metron’s flow management solution demonstrates our commitment to maximising and reducing fuel consumption, which will inevitably improve air traffic safety and continue to move us toward a greener sky.”

“ATNS has identified traffic flow management as a strategic capability for not only reducing delays, but enabling new levels of cooperation that benefit both ATM service providers and airlines,” said Dave Ellison, CEO of Metron Aviation. “Metron Aviation is grateful for the opportunity to support ATNS together with Thales and advance collaborative traffic flow management around the world, a capability which holds so much promise for seamlessly harmonising global air traffic.”

The ATFM system gives ATNS advanced tools for strategic planning, as well as pre-tactical and tactical management of traffic flows within the available capacity of the air traffic management (ATM) system. The system provides the comprehensive ATFM capabilities to model and implement all traffic flow initiatives for both aerodrome/airport and airspace volumes in South Africa. Traffic flow initiatives are used to dynamically balance air traffic demand with capacity to keep traffic flowing as smoothly and efficiently as possible.