A record attendance of 71 air traffic control, airline and military operation staff and pilots from both sides of the North Atlantic was recorded at the 26th Bi-Annual North American/European Air Traffic Flow Management Task Force (NAMEUR) Meeting in Dublin, Ireland.

The event ran from 29th September to 1st October 2015, hosted by the Irish Aviation Authority and chaired by Mark Hurston from United Airlines and myself.

Attendees included FAA, Nav Canada, Eurocontrol, Nav Portugal, IAA and Isavia on the ATC side and British Airways, American Airlines, Air Canada, KLM, Delta Airlines, Lufthansa, United Airlines, Thomas Cook, TUI Thompson Airways, Air France, Etihad, Qatar, DHL, Fedex on the airline side as well as the United States Air Force.

NAMEUR focuses on how flights both enter and leave the North Atlantic airspace, providing an opportunity to those responsible for operating and managing flights on a day-to-day basis to share their experiences and exchange ideas for the future. We addressed day-to-day issues to improve traffic flow and therefore reduce costs and environmental impact for flights operating between Europe and North America.

One of the key issues discussed was how the reduced spacing of flights in the North Atlantic airspace, an initiative due to commence in November 2015, will affect how flights arrive into the United Kingdom, Ireland and North America.

Table-top exercises enabled participants to look at their understanding of the new procedures. Following these exercises there were several recommendations put forward to improve briefing materials to dispatchers, pilots and air traffic controllers.

26th NAMEUR breakout group session, Dublin

26th NAMEUR breakout group session, Dublin

One of the most effective parts of the meeting was the break-out group sessions where small groups with areas of specific interest were able to meet and quickly resolve any issues, particularly those relating to the planning of flights. This method proved very effective, focusing participants’ minds on working through key points and quickly identifying resolutions.

Live updates from the meeting were posted on the NAMEUR Twitter feed @NAMEUR_ATFM and could be followed easily through the hashtag #NAMEUR26, which enabled those not attending to see some of the work which was in progress.

Work has already started on the next meeting, NAMEUR/27 which is planned for late April 2016 in Miami, USA and which will be hosted by IATA. The agenda will once again be very diverse, covering a wide variety of subjects, all directly related to the issues raised by the Group. These are expected to include further work on the impact of reduced spacing of flights in the North Atlantic airspace, resolving flight planning issues around military airspace in Canada and improving the prediction of where the North Atlantic flights will fly up to seven days ahead.

I look forward to seeing you there.


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