TBO Benefits

Through enhanced data sharing and integration across domains, Trajectory Based Operations (TBO) improves predictability and management of where a flight will be and at what time, and enables the following primary benefits:


- Increased Throughput:

  • TBO improves the ability to generate a more feasible and integrated plan for the day-of operations, including the schedules for sequencing aircraft through key constraint points in the National Airspace System (NAS). TBO also improves the ability to accurately execute the operational plan for the day and sequencing schedules. As a result, traffic flows are expedited, and the use of available capacity more efficient.
  • In some cases, TBO may enable faster responses to severe weather developments or degradation in airport meteorological conditions, leading to a likely increase in capacity under the same prevailing operating conditions and demand levels.

- Increased Predictability:

  • Improved data and decision support tools help generate more feasible schedules for the key constraint points in the NAS, as well as help achieve greater adherence to the schedules. Together, they deliver improved predictability of aircraft movement on the day-of-operation. While this may contribute toward improved on-time-performance and fewer diversions, such effects are restricted by other factors on which TBM and TBO have no direct influence, such as adverse weather, airborne and airport winds, operator scheduling practices, etc.
  • More reliable end-to-end aircraft times on the day-of-operation provide operators more opportunities to make better business decisions concerning fleet management and fuel loading.

- Improved Flight Efficiency:

  • Increased predictability on the day-of-operations allows flights to absorb delays caused by merging and sequencing in a more fuel-efficient manner over the flight&aposs trajectory. For example, delays that are typically absorbed via low-altitude vectors and long down-winds in the current system will be shifted further back upstream, and absorbed via more efficient means such as speed-control, vectors at higher altitudes, or ground delays at the origin airport. "Vector" means to temporarily divert an aircraft from its intended flight path to increase the distance from the previous aircraft in the same stream, and then return it to its original route.
  • Through deployment and integration of Terminal Flight Data Manager automation platform, TBO will improve management of aircraft movement on airport surface, virtual runway queues, taxi sequencing, and runway balancing for mixed operations. This will lead to more efficient surface flows and reduced wait times in physical departure queues at major airports.
  • Supported by Data Communications Tower and En Route services, TBO may facilitate additional gains in operator flexibility and flight efficiency in re-route situations.
  • Supported by the existing network of PBN and conventional procedures and routes, increased predictability on the day-of-operations will facilitate fewer interruptions during aircraft descent and fewer vectors for merging onto final approaches to the arrival runways. This, in turn, leads to further increase in utilization of PBN procedures, both En Route and in congested terminal airspaces.

- Increased Operator Flexibility:

  • TBO enables increased collaboration regarding flight operator trajectory preferences, and in shaping customized, business-friendly solutions to NAS constraints. The increased emphasis on strategic planning and the capability for operators to submit flight preference information means more flexibility for operators in how constraints are managed.

The magnitude of benefits will gradually increase over time as capabilities are implemented incrementally and as experience with the capabilities increases.

For more information or questions about TBO, please contact 9-AJT-TBO@faa.gov

Last updated: Wednesday, February 9, 2022