The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is one of the largest Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSP) by size and area, managing air traffic for more than 15% of the world’s airspace. From the North Atlantic to the South Pacific, the Northern Polar routes to the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean, the FAA is responsible for more than 24.6 million sq. miles of oceanic airspace and 5.6 million sq. miles of U.S. airspace. The FAA interfaces with more than 18 ANSPs around the world and provides services to roughly 55,000 flights per day and approximately 47 million en route and terminal operations a year.
The 1990s saw air traffic increases unseen in the U.S., bringing with it unprecedented delays. There were few tools available for Collaborative Decision Making (CDM) and fewer still for common situational awareness. The FAA found their already limited resources extremely strained. Air traffic controllers had limited and untimely access to delay information around the National Airspace (NAS) and were unable to adequately manage ground operations for congested or weather-impacted airports and airspace. Moreover, with a decentralized database of aircraft route data, there were no systems to identify problems or areas of inefficiencies throughout the NAS.
With technological revolutions across various industries, officials at the FAA sought systems that would aid in information sharing, which in turn would help relieve the congestion that plagued the NAS.
For more than 10 years, the FAA has partnered with Metron Aviation to develop a systematic approach to CDM and common situational awareness that has eliminated over 70 million minutes of delays for North American air carriers. Metron Aviation’s pioneering research, underlying algorithms and preferred operating procedures have led to the creation of many successful traffic flow management technologies used by more than 100 FAA facilities and 24 participating airlines each day: