Page 25 - ATC Special Bulletin Series - Future Skies 2024
P. 25

While TBO is primarily focused on airspace management, the importance of tower control in its successful implementation should not be overlooked. Under TBO, aircraft are required to follow the optimised trajectories with precise time in order to minimise conflicts and maximise efficiency. Accurate departure sequence and time becomes critical for TBO to be success. Traditionally, this relies on the professional judgementandcollaborationofClearanceDelivery Controllers, Ground Movement Controllers and Air Movement Controllers.
To achieve a more holistic and seamless approach to air traffic management it is crucial to integrate TBO with other systems and technologies. In particular, information sharing with future developments of airport CDM, such as the airport operations plan (AOP) will ensure that the timing of ground operations aligns with TBO whilst considering factors like runway capacity, gate availability and terminal constraints. When combined with appropriate departure manager (DMAN) and surface manager (SMAN) functions, TBO and AOP will be able to ensure timely delivery of aircraft to the runway to meet the needs of the optimal flight plan.
The true potential of TBO lies not only in airspace and ground traffic management but also in its ability to reshape the entire airport operation. Integrating TBO with airport operations presents an opportunity to address challenges posed by the traditionally separate entities of air traffic control and airport operations. For example, when an aircraft is advised to slow down early enroute to avoid holding at the destination, alternative solutions such as delaying departure or even delaying boarding could be more suitable. These alternative solutions require close coordination between air traffic control and airport operations.
Traditionally, boarding gate assignments are planned in advanced by airport operators. However, unexpected delays or prolonged aircraft occupation at a gate can have a cascading impact on subsequent flights and passengers. Gate
change will inevitably be the only result. It can cause disruptions as hundreds of passengers may need to move to a different gate, which might not be close and convenient. Moreover, additional towing activities may be required to reposition aircraft and free up occupied stands. These changes can disrupt passenger terminal flow and ground traffic.
To address these challenges, airport operations can also be integrated with TBO synchronised with SMAN, A-CDM and the AOP to unlock a new level of efficiency, collaboration and environmental sustainability. By utilising the wealth of real-time data provided by the updated flight trajectory, along with considerations such as stand availability and usage, taxi distance to runway, aircraft turnaround time, passenger numbers, proportion of transfer passengers, aircraft type and other ramp operation factors (e.g. equipment location), smart gate assignments can be dynamically made. With the integration of TBO and airport operations, gate assignments can be adjusted in real-time based on the evolving situation. This allows for more efficient utilisation of airport resources and gate assignments can be optimised to ensure smooth operations and minimise the impact on subsequent flights and passengers. We can further extend the smart gates concept to other airport infrastructure to baggage handling system, baggage reclaims belt assignment, customs, immigration, quarantine and security screening channels resources to streamline the whole airport process and enhance total airport experience.
The potential of TBO extends far beyond airspace management and can encompass the entire journey from pre-flight to post-flight. By integrating TBO with airport operations, the aviation industry can achieve a comprehensive and seamless approach to air traffic management. By recognising the potential of TBO beyond airspace management and integrating it into all aspects of airport operations, the aviation industry can unleash its full power. This comprehensive approach has the potential to revolutionise the way airports operate, enhancing efficiency, improving the passenger experience and contributing to the industry’s goals of sustainability and operational excellence for the future skies.

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