Point Merge System
High Density Terminal Airspaces Benefit From Innovative Optimization Procedures
The Point Merge System is an innovative procedural concept developed by the EUROCONTROL Experimental Centre (EEC) in 2006 to merge flows of arriving aircraft over a single TMA entry point, that takes advantage of an aircraft’s precision area navigation (P-RNAV) capability. The Point Merge System concept in high density and complex Extended TMA (E-TMA) sectors replaces radar vectoring with a more efficient and simplified traffic synchronization mechanism that reduces communication workload and increases collective traffic sequencing into the TMA. This enables efficient sequencing of inbound traffic while supporting continuous descent operations.
Point Merge is one of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Aviation System Block Upgrades and is referenced as a technique to support continuous descent operations (Doc 9931).
- “Point Merge aims at improving and harmonizing arrival operations with existing technology. Point Merge is primarily developed as a tool to facilitate the work for ATC controllers and is considered as a holding procedure.” (IATA)
- “According to EUROCONTROL, Point Merge promises a significant increase of trajectory predictability and reduced track dispersion, which would enable more efficient sequencing of the approaching aircraft.” (source: IATA Position on Point Merge)
ORTHOGON AMAN supports Point Merge Systems
When flying in a terminal movement area using the PMS system, airline operators avoid long level off segments during the sequence legs on approach because the supporting Arrival Manager (AMAN) enables delay absorption up stream prior to entering the TMA. Additionally, the AMAN ensures that there is no overload of arrivals in the TMA, thereby ensuring a smooth and orderly balancing of demand and capacity.
Based on this, the International Air Transport Association promotes the concept of combining Point Merge System with an Arrival Manager: “Point Merge operations should only be implemented in conjunction with AMAN to ensure optimum efficiency.” (IATA)
In April 2011, Avinor implemented the world’s first Point Merge System to increase airspace capacity, to improve safety and to improve environmental performance in the Oslo TMA.
- Increased safety as a result of a more structured airspace; with positive impacts on controller and pilot situational awareness
- Reduced controller workload due to the reduction in frequency usage allowing for increased capacity
- Increased flight efficiency due to increased use of the Flight Management System (FMS) and improved environmental sustainability due to use of fuel-saving Continuous Decent Operations (CDOs)
- Improved predictability as a result of standardized Air Traffic Controller methodologies, as well as improved trajectory prediction and the reduction in the number of open loops