“Harris’ Arrival Manager is another step on the path for NATS to improve efficiency and cut fuel burn and emissions. This tool will be invaluable to controllers in charge of some of the most complex airspace in the world.”
OSYRIS AMAN Powers World's First Extended Arrival Management in the UK
NATS, the United Kingdom’s air navigation service provider, handles about 2.2 million flights and over 220 million passengers in the UK airspace each year. NATS provides air traffic control services in the London terminal movement area (TMA), which is the busiest terminal movement area in Europe.
London Heathrow Airport (LHR) handled 73.4 million passengers in 2014 where the daily average number of movements was 1290. Heathrow Airport manages to operate at close to peak capacity (98%) using only two parallel runways on a continuous basis. London Heathrow, with the busiest dual runway operation in the world, shares the terminal movement area with Gatwick, Luton, Stansted and London City airports, creating a highly complex and challenging airspace and route structure.
Participating in the Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) Programme, NATS investigated how to further optimize the arrival management process into Heathrow. The strategy was to shift some of the delay out of the busy terminal area around London into the en-route airspace and NATS implemented the world’s first Extended Arrival Management (E-AMAN) that spanned multiple partners. As it included neighboring ANSPs and sequenced air traffic across multiple national borders, the name “cross border arrival management” (XMAN) became the project’s name. E-AMAN is a solution currently being rolled out across Europe by the SESAR Deployment Manager. XMAN was the world’s first multi-partner extended arrival management.
In 2012 the operational horizon of AMAN was extended well beyond NATS airspace to a 550 NM radius, by merging flight plan and radar data with estimates provided by the Enhanced Tactical Flow Management System (ETFMS). That significantly improved the prediction horizon and situational awareness of the approach controllers and allows slowing down aircraft very early in case of predicted delay. Taking advantage of the early planning information controllers communicate a more reliable estimated approach time (EAT) to pilots.
In 2013, Harris Orthogon enhanced the OSYRIS AMAN to support Extended Arrival Management and therefore, contributed to SESAR Very Large Scale Demonstration (VLD) activities as part of the TOPFLIGHT project.
An innovative controller working position (SWIM HMI) was developed and is used operationally. Through a SWIM web-service, the application displays, in real-time, the extended AMAN arrival sequence to the controllers of neighboring Area Control Centers (ACCs) in Shannon (IAA), Reims and Brest (DSNA), Maastricht (Eurocontrol), and Prestwick (NATS). This cross boundary sharing of information and situational awareness allows neighboring controllers to slow down aircraft in their en-route sectors, starting 350 NM miles away from the London TMA and leading to significant fuel savings and a reduction in emissions.
The OSYRIS E-AMAN for the London system includes several advanced features. The system is configured to display the planning information for both, the Heathrow and Gatwick arrivals, on a single AMAN HMI including several timelines. The holding monitoring capability allows for an improved exit monitoring accommodating short holding. Additionally, the delay countdown handles already absorbed delay more consistently.
Harris Orthogon’s OSYRIS Arrival Manager specifically helps to absorb delay at more fuel-efficient altitudes, over longer flight distances. Between the start of the operational trial in April 2014 and the start of permanent procedures in late 2015, NATS recorded a reduction of holding-stack times by up to a minute for LHR inbound flights subject to XMAN activity. This saves airlines annually around 4,700t in fuel or 15,000t of CO2 and the communities underneath the stacks are benefiting from reduced noise.
In 2013, Harris Orthogon enhanced the existing OSYRIS Arrival Manager to support the Extended Arrival management (E-AMAN) system in line with SESAR. This was the world’s first Extended Arrival Management (E-AMAN) system that spanned multiple partners, neighboring ANSPs and sequenced air traffic across multiple national borders, and is sometimes called Cross-Border Arrival Management (XMAN).
The NATS E-AMAN implementation, also referred to as the Heathrow XMAN, demonstrates how the OSYRIS Arrival Manager has been deployed using a SWIM-based service oriented architecture, another SESAR concept, that relies on open standards and information exchange and delivers tangible benefits such as providing fuel and environmental savings, as well as speed of solution delivery and reduced development costs.
In the early stages of this program, Harris Orthogon and NATS each won a SESAR SWIM Master Class 2013 award for demonstrating an AMAN web-service and a SWIM-enabled AMAN user interface. In early 2015, the team led by NATS won the IHS Jane’s ATC Award for the groundbreaking “Heathrow Cross-Border Arrival Management (XMAN)” project.