CNS/ATM Technology impact on airline operations

From: (FMCDave)
Organization: America Online, Inc. (1-800-827-6364)
Date:         27 Feb 96 23:00:29 
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Current aircraft are selected basically on the basis on aircraft
performance, range, and seat capacity.  There is another factor which is
coming into play now, but getting very little publicity.  If an aircraft
manufacturer developed a new wing which could achieve a 1.5% reduction in
fuel burn, then the world would beat a path to their door.

As technology has made aircraft more and more efficient; one factor is
emerging which is constraining the efficient operation of aircraft. That
factor is the outdated Air Traffic Management (ATM)system and its
procedures.  The increase in air traffic, coupled with these constraints
are causing the airlines to operate route structures and altitudes which
cost them money.  Improvements to the Communication, Navigation, and
Surveillance (CNS) must occur to remove these constraints.

Clearly, something must be done about this.  The first step has been
taken in areas of procedural control with the implementation of FANS 1/A
(Future Air Navigation System).  I have posted other materiel with more
information, but a detailed discussion of FANS is not the intent of this
posting. The Boeing fleet of 747-400s is currently fitted, with the 777
and 757/777 not far behind.  Douglas Aircraft Company will also have FANS
capable aircraft in 1997.  Airbus is also planning a FANS A package which
will have equivalent capability.  There has been substantial cooperation
between  the aircraft manufacturers in this area.  They all have an
interest in presenting a common interface to the Ground ATC.

The RTCA Free Flight Task Force 3 report contains a set of
recommendations which would remove constraints in the domestic airspace.

Has there been opposition?  Yes, primarily from some parts of industry
which council waiting until the ICAO endorsed Aeronautical
Telecommunications Network (ATN)is on line. Airlines have decided not to
wait until that network is ready.

What is the key?  Cooperation between airlines, airframe manufacturers,
network service providers, and the States.  CNS improvements can be
expensive, and airlines are loath to invest without committed benefits

The purpose of this post is to raise awareness.  You will see more and
more about CNS/ATM in the months to come.  We as an industry need to be
prepared for it.

David Allen
Project Manager, CNS/ATM
Opinions are mine and not my employer's