Thousands of flights. Numerous challenges. Just a typical day for System Operations.
The Air Traffic Control System Command Center (ATCSCC) was established in 1970 at FAA Headquarters in Washington, DC to identify solutions to air traffic inefficiencies in the National Air Space System (NAS). After relocating to Herndon, Virginia in 1994, the ATCSCC was permanently moved to its Warrenton, Virginia site in 2011. This one-of-a-kind facility is dedicated to balancing the nation's air traffic demand with system capacity. The ATCSCC collaborates with NAS stakeholders throughout the day to discuss system constraints, impacting events, and possible options to mitigate the challenges. Stakeholders include:
- Air Route Traffic Control Centers (ARTCCs)
- Terminal Radar Approach Control Facilities (TRACONs)
- Air Traffic Control Towers (ATCTs)
- Aviation Industry Partners
The ATCSCC Team uses traffic management initiatives (TMIs) to manage the flow of air traffic and minimize delays. TMIs may include:
- Airborne Metering,
- Ground Delay Programs,
- Ground Stops,
- Airspace Flow Programs
TMIs are also used to mitigate the impact of NAS events caused by:
- Equipment Outages,
- Runway Closures,
- National Emergencies
The integration of new entrants, including Space Operations and Uncrewed Aircraft Systems (UAS), presents unique NAS challenges in addition to the usual system constraints. The ATCSCC remains vigilant and agile by adopting new strategies to evolve with the NAS. One example is PERTI (Plan, Execute, Review, Train, and Improve). This advance planning team evaluates the next day's weather and potential issues to determine what TMIs might be needed to mitigate the constraints and balance demand with capacity.