Trajectory Based Operations (TBO): Central to the latest ATM concepts

28 June 2017

EUROCONTROL supports and is a main contributor to Trajectory Based Operations (TBO), which is the exchange, maintenance and use of consistent aircraft trajectory and flight information for collaborative decision-making on the flight (‘collaborative’ here means the involvement of the aircraft operator and all parties that have an interest in a flight). 

In June EUROCONTROL hosted an ICAO ATM Requirements and Performance Panel (ATMRPP) TBO meeting to look closely at FF-ICE, the Flight and Flow Information for a Collaborative Environment, which is a key enabler for TBO. The ATMRPP, which is chaired by Henk Hof, Head of the ICAO & Concepts unit at EUROCONTROL, has developed a ‘Concept for TBO’ which will form the reference for global TBO developments and implementations. TBO is at the heart of all the latest ATM strategies and concepts including the SESAR Master Plan and ICAO’s Global Air Navigation Plan (GANP). TBO is also the main focus of validation conducted in regional programmes such as SESAR, NextGen (US), CARATS (Japan) and Sirius (Brasil).

EUROCONTROL continues to drive the concept through ICAO, and the ATMRPP recently hosted a TBO Technical Interchange Meeting on 12-16 June at EUROCONTROL HQ to exchange findings/views/issues on the status of TBO developments. One of the topics discussed was FF-ICE, which is a key enabler for TBO. FF-ICE is, in a nutshell, the new ICAO concept for flight information-sharing via System Wide Information Management (SWIM) which will be gradually implemented worldwide as outlined in the GANP. One of the key technical enablers for the implementation of FF-ICE exchanges over SWIM is FIXM, the Flight Information Exchange Model, which provides a globally standardised representation of the flight information exchanged by FF-ICE actors. FIXM is technically developed by an open community of stakeholders including Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs), airspace users and industry partners, with a total of 41 registered organisations as of May 2017.

Interest in FF-ICE is naturally high among the FIXM community, and in parallel to the ATMRPP Meeting, the 2017 FIXM workshop saw FIXM experts travel to EUROCONTROL to discuss the Model and consolidate the main technical improvements for the next FIXM version (v.4.1.0), which is planned in December 2017. This represented a perfect opportunity to bring the two groups together, leading to a cross-disciplinary first joint ICAO ATMRPP/ FIXM session on 15 June 2017. This enabled experts on both sides to address outstanding FF-ICE interoperability considerations, and to further foster the ‘handshake’ between the FIXM community and their supervising ICAO panel. Bringing together the right operational and technical experts will be paramount for increasing the maturity of both the FF-ICE concept and the FIXM solution, and similar gatherings are expected to take place on a more regular basis over the coming months and years.

Contact us for more information on the draft TBO concept. To learn more about the FIXM open standard, interested stakeholders can join the FIXM community by registering to the FIXM Work Area on OneSky Teams, either as a contributor or observer. The main FIXM releases are available on the FIXM website, together with general FIXM information and a “frequently asked questions” section.

Contact us    FIXM Work Area

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