More streamlined towards Schiphol: High praise for the new Arrival Management System
“The sooner the better.” The approach controllers (APP) are looking forward to the arrival of ASAP, the Advanced Schiphol Arrival Planner. The new Arrival Management System will become operational in November 2015. There has been high praise for the system that calculates both the arrival times of approaching aircraft and the best landing sequence.
Project leader Jeroen Timmers: “For Air Traffic Control the Netherlands (LVNL) and specifically Operations, ASAP means a huge stride forward in realising the strategy on optimising inbound traffic flows.”
Planning further in advance and working more efficiently
These are the benefits of ASAP for air traffic controllers. ASAP enables the correct airspeed to be selected earlier in the flight in order that aircraft can be added to the chain of landing aircraft without having to make a detour or being put in holding. The smaller the adjustment to the airspeed or route, the greater the savings on fuel consumption.
The Trajectory Predictor
“ASAP allocates a runway to flights at Schiphol,” Jan Westland (system coordinator) explains. “The Trajectory Predictor plays an important role here. This is a new and improved algorithm which calculates the time at which the aircraft is expected on the runway. The algorithm takes into account the different types of aircraft, the wind and typical flight behaviour on the final approach. ASAP can determine the best landing sequence based on a reliable estimate of the landing times.”
All aircraft that come to Schiphol are allocated a time calculated by ASAP for one of the three holding areas over the Netherlands. “It is important that the ACC controllers hand over aircraft to the Approach controllers as precisely as possible at the given time, irrespective of whether they have to circle in the holding area or can fly on without delays. This prevents too many aircraft being reported to Approach simultaneously and it becoming too busy in Schiphol’s Terminal Manoeuvring Area (TMA),” Timmers continues.
The sooner the better
The Approach controllers are looking forward to the arrival of ASAP, especially after the demonstration using the prototype. Both the new look and its ease of use via drag and drop are seen as a huge improvement.
The final validation will be held in early 2015
Then ASAP will be tested in practice. The ASAP planner window can be made visible at a reserve Approach workstation. This position will be fed with live data. Incidentally, inputs on this workstation have no effect on the actual planning for the existing inbound planning system. The operational experts attached to this project can test the functioning of ASAP thoroughly at this workstation. An additional advantage is that the Approach controllers can already become accustomed to the new ASAP interface. This simplifies its operational introduction.
E-learning and on the job
Good working agreements between the ACC and APP units on operating the system are even more crucial than before. Uniformity in conducting air traffic control tasks and planning stability will be the main focus during the training procedure for all Approach controllers in early 2015. They will be trained via E-learning as well as on the job, before they start to work with the new ASAP system.
Three years’ hard work have already gone into ASAP. The Knowledge and Development Centre Schiphol occupies an important role in financing and developing this project. The National Aerospace Laboratory (NLR) is also a partner, naturally in close cooperation with the LVNL project team.
Influence on total operations
Jeroen Timmers believes it is a challenge to ensure that ASAP is prepared for all operational situations, especially as inbound planning affects the total APP and ACC operations. The core of inbound planning also needs to be amended and improved due to the introduction of a new Trajectory Predictor. The project team has conducted a great deal of work via validation sessions with Operations and offline validation of the Trajectory Predictor in order to conduct this process in a controlled manner.
ASAP is closely linked to the CB Land/Central West airspace project
With a view to optimising the routes towards southern Germany, the military airspace in the south-east Netherlands is to become civilian. In addition, that part of the airspace will house the fourth holding area containing the fourth Initial Approach Fix (IAF). The IAF is the point at which air traffic is handed over from ACC to APP. Timmers: “ASAP makes it possible to have a fourth holding area as ACC hands the aircraft over to the Approach controllers in a more streamlined and precise manner. The current inbound planning system involves leeway of plus or minus two minutes. The aim is to improve this delivery precision using ASAP. At the moment we are not sure how precise delivery will be based on the initial implementation step. The ultimate aim is to achieve delivery precision of plus or minus 30 seconds. There is still a great challenge for us in the future.”