Air traffic control, airline and military operation staff and pilots from both sides of the North Atlantic attended the recent 27th Bi-Annual North American/European Air Traffic Flow Management Task Force (NAMEUR) Meeting in Fort Lauderdale, USA, which I co-chaired along with Tobin Miller from American Airlines.
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.
Attendees included FAA, NATS, Nav Canada, Eurocontrol, Nav Portugal, IAA and Isavia on the ATC side and British Airways, American Airlines, Air Canada, Delta Airlines, Lufthansa, United Airlines, Thomas Cook, TUI Thomson Airways, Air France, Etihad, Qatar, DHL, Fedex and United States Air Force on the airline side.
Key issues discussed included Phase 1, half-degree spacing over the Ocean for a limited number of tracks. We discussed how reduced spacing of flights in the North Atlantic airspace, introduced in November 2015, has affected flights arriving into the UK, Ireland and North America. Participants provided feedback on this phase and several recommendations were put forward as a result of the discussions, which included improving briefing materials to dispatchers, pilots and air traffic controllers.
One of the most effective parts of the meeting was the break-out sessions. Small groups with specific issues, 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 #NAMEUR27, which enabled those not attending to see some of the work which was in progress.
Work has already started on 28th NAMEUR, the next meeting, planned for late September 2016 in Brussels and which will be hosted by Eurocontrol. The agenda will again be very diverse, covering a wide variety of subjects, all directly related to the issues raised by the NAMEUR Group. These are expected to include further work on the impact of reduced spacing of flights in the North Atlantic airspace using space-based ADS-B, resolving flight planning issues along the Canadian boundary and improving the data sent by airlines to construct the daily North Atlantic routes.
I look forward to seeing you there.
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