Air traffic flow and capacity management (ATFCM) is at the core of air traffic management network operations. Its objective is to optimise traffic flows according to air traffic control capacity while enabling airlines to operate safe and efficient flights.
The balance between the airspace capacity and the traffic load is monitored permanently by the Network Manager Operations Centre (NMOC).
The ATFCM activities are divided into four phases.
The phase takes place seven days, or more before the day of operations.
During this phase the NMOC helps the air navigation service providers (ANSPs) to predict what capacity they will need to provide in each of their air traffic control centres. A routing scheme is prepared. This also includes avoiding imbalances between capacity and demand for events taking place a week or more in the future (large-scale military exercises, major sports events, etc).
The phase takes place one day to six days before the day of operations.
During this phase the NMOC coordinates the definition of a daily plan, the initial network plan and informs air traffic control (ATC) units and aircraft operators about the ATFCM measures that will be in force in European airspace on the following day by publishing the agreed plan for the day of operations.
The phase takes place on the day of operations.
During this phase the NMOC monitors and updates the daily plan based on the current situation and continuous capacity optimisation according to real time traffic demand. When aircraft are affected by a regulation, the centre offers alternative solutions to minimise delays.
The phase takes place after the day of operations.
During this phase an analysis is carried out in order to measure, investigate and report on operational processes and activities throughout all domains and external units relevant to an ATFCM service. This phase compares the anticipated outcome (where assessed) with the actual measured outcome, generally in terms of delay and route extension, while taking into account performance targets. This allows us to develop best practices and/or lessons learnt to improve those operational processes and activities.
For non-EUROCONTROL States, the service is provided on an individual basis, under conditions defined in an agreement.
For EUROCONTROL Member States, the service is provided under the terms and conditions of the standard agreement between EUROCONTROL and the ANSPs concerned.