Air Traffic Management


The Intentional Air Transport Association (IATA) is an international industry group of airlines and has its headquarters in Montreal Canada also headquarters to the International Civil Aviation Organization although the company's executive offices are located in Geneva airport Switzerland. IATA was formed in the year 1945 in Havana, Cuba and it's the successor of the International Air traffic Association that was founded in Hague in 1919 a year that saw the world's first international services scheduled. During the time of IATA's founding it had a fifty seven members from more than thirty one nations  mostly from North America and Europe but currently the company has more than two hundred and thirty members derived from more than one hundred and forty countries spread across the globe. IATAs stated mission is to represent, lead as well as to serve the airline industry thus all the airline rules and regulations are stipulated by the company to ensure that it achieves its main aim of providing safe and secure transportation of all of its passengers. IATA represents two hundred and thirty airlines which comprises of ninety three percent of the scheduled international air traffic and the company is currently present in more than one hundred and fifty countries that are served by one hundred and one offices located around the globe (ICAO, 2008).

Air transport is considered as a major contributor to the world's economy responsible for moving more than 1.6 billion passengers each year as well as forty percent of the manufactured goods in the world by value. The industry as experienced several setbacks in the past couple of years but currently the market demand is returning with passengers traffic expected to increase by hundred percent in the next two decades with a faster growth of the freight traffic. Such immense growth can not be efficiently handled by the current navigation services (ANS) procedures and infrastructure in fact in some regions like Europe and North America there has been flight delays resulting from system overload which has reached levels that are not acceptable. In some other places notably in remote areas and over the oceans ANS requires considerable improvements to me made.

Considering the expected changes to be made to facilitate better air transport, the industry is focusing most of its efforts on these issues and one evidence is the One Sky...Global ATM (air transport management) which is the industry's vision of the future global air navigation system that will offer an enhanced safety and efficient while at same time accommodating the global growth in air traffic in an airspace that is devoid of national borders and seamless. By achieving this vision several environmental benefits will be yield like reduced emissions as well as other benefits like lower overall costs for the airlines involved through efficiency, operational improvements, equitable user charges and avionics equipage. The industry has a potential to implementsa truly global airspace environment and this is promising especially when one considers the cooperation's with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), global air navigation plan, ATM operational concept and the IATA's ATM implementation road map.

This future concept is basically based on technologies that include: data link

Communications, automatic dependent surveillance (ADS), digital aeronautical, the Global

Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) and the information services (AIS).  These technologies will play a critical role in transforming the air transport management by enabling a collaborative decision-making process, strategic conflict management, a dynamic air space management, all weather operations and finally a flexible use of air space (ICAO, 2008).

In addition to that the transition to the modern ATM systems, the system must take full advantage of both the existing and the future ATM improvements including the following: reduced vertical separation minima (RVSM), capability of sophisticate modern aircraft, required navigation performance (RNP), area navigation (RNAV), and free routing. The transition process into the modern ATM should therefore be conducted in a manner that will enable the users to develop a business with a near-term payback.

Several leaders of the parents in the project are very focused and optimistic regarding the project and   the director general and CEO of IATA Giovanni Bisignani in the past said that the air transport has been living with the promise of a new, seamless global air traffic management system for more than ten years and now the technology is at hand therefore it only remains for governments to act and make it happen. Also the president of the ICAO council Dr Assad Kotaite is quoted saying that its time to press on with the vision for an interoperable, seamless and global air traffic management system for the international civil aviation in 21st century and its progressive realization will yield immense benefits to all sectors of the air industry (ICAO, 2009).

Vision for One ATM

One Sky...Global ATM is the future vision of the air transport of a future global navigation system that will offer an enhanced safety and efficiency while accommodating global air traffic growth in air space that is seamless and devoid of national borders. The vision stated above is expected to be attained through ATM solutions that improves upon the following: overall efficiency of the air space as well as airport operations that lead to increased capacity, current levels of safety and regularity, availability of a user preferred  flight profiles and schedules, present environmental achievements leading to reduced fuel consumption and emission, minimum differences in the onboard equipage requirements between region and finally should improve upon ANS infrastructure implementation expenditures that are based upon sound business plans that reflect  good business practices.


 This is an IATA's acronym for air traffic management, communication, navigation and surveillance and it's the industry's strategy building on ICAO's ATM operation concept as well as on the Global Air navigation plan for the CNS/ATM systems through placement of emphasis on ATM solutions. The plans intends to move from the present terrestrial navigation aids as well as the analogue communications into aviation to increase the utility of the satellite solutions and digital systems and an emphasis is laid upon the benefit- driven solutions tighter with the need to taking advantage of the existing aircraft equipage (IATA, par 3).

 One of the ardent believes of the air industry is that change must be driven through implementation of ATM solutions based upon the requirements of the primary air space user and the airlines. The industry has called for a phased market driven and region by region transition to the ATM-cns in order to foster achievement of the vision of One ATM and this is subject to a rigorous business planning that must by al means support the transition and this is attributed to the fact that the air industry alone can not afford to implement communication, navigation as well as surveillance 'cns' technologies without provision of a clear financial  as well as economic benefits to the air space users.

This strategy of ATM-cns will make sure that management of air craft is eventually a collaborative activity between the controller, air line operators and the pilot and this enables the air craft to have a greater autonomy as well as making the traffic controllers task to evolve thus taking full advantage of the automation. This will then lead to a seamless flight operation, procedures as well as technology that are interoperable, harmonized and compatible regardless of national boundaries.

Benefits of ATM-cns to airline industry

The strategy of One sky ATM utilizing yields various benefits to the industry and as a matter of fact ATM-cns will help to address the limitations of the current systems thus will provide many improvements as it regards to safety, efficiency environmental performance  as well as capacity and therefore responding to the rising consumer demand for a sustainable  travel.

Increased efficiency and safety:  the main drivers if ATM-cns is to ensure that it furthers the improvement of safety as well as to reduce system inefficiencies like the congestion and delays while at same time helping to increasing the air space and the airport capacity. For example the digital data communications between the flight crews and the controllers will drastically reduce the potential for errors thus enabling reduced air craft separation (David, 1987).

Environmental improvements:  the system will lead to shortened flight times resulting to a greater fuel efficiency as well as fewer aircraft emissions and this was confirmed by the United Nations Intergovernmental panel for climate change(IPCC) in the special report on aviation and the global atmosphere (1999). The report states that the ICAO CNS/ATM systems concept when its fully implemented on a global basis will potentially improve the overall fuel efficiency from six to twelve percent which represents an annual reduction of about twenty billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emission while saving a cost of between United States dollars of up to 4.3 billion and six billion annually both for the industry as well as for its customers (IATA, par 5).

Optimum routings and shortened flight times: GNSS is available worldwide and also communication satellite signals are readily available in numerous oceanic and the remote areas meaning that implementation of some elements of ATM-cns are able to provide an immediate improvements to the communication, navigation as well as in the surveillance of regions that that has  previously been considered 'out of bounds' basically because of the low quality or even non existence of any radio coverage. Therefore the system will give pilots the ability to determine as well as request clearances along their own direct flights paths through the use of satellite navigation as opposed to following pre-determined flight paths and this will enable optimum routings as well as shortened flight times.

Global applicability and most effectiveness: some developing countries and remote regions till present still lack appropriate cns infrastructure making it not possible to safely meet the needs of the modern civil aviation therefore the cost incurred in providing as well as in marinating such infrastructure is increasing. Considering the current challenges , the ATM-cns concept can be globally applied and its less dependent  on the number on the more expensive ground based aids thus implementation of ATM-cns will not only make cost effective for the sates but will also  help in reducing future acquisition as well as in the maintenance costs (ICAO, 1993).

In conclusion ATM-cns will help to provide a safe and reliable air traffic management services in developing regions like Africa thus improving safety as well as operational efficiencies.  More over implementation of ATM-cns will have significant implications for states as it pertains to the way their space will be structured and managed. Therefore the transition to the system must ensure that the ATM efficiency and effectiveness is optimized through development of proper transition plans as well as long term strategy that is aimed at rationalizing both the infrastructure and the service delivery thus should be strategy based on global operational requirements that are supported by the market forecasts and not on purely national or regional interest.