August 21– The FAA is now one significant step closer to better optimizing the flow of aircraft into busy airspace thanks to the initial deployment of a new system called Time-Based Flow Management (TBFM). TBFM, which was recently installed in all 20 en route centers, will replace Traffic Management Advisor (TMA) as a time-based scheduling tool that meters aircraft through all phases of flight in order to deliver the correct number of aircraft to airspace sectors and down to the runway at the exact pace at which the aircraft can be accommodated.
Time-based metering – delivering aircraft to a specific place at a specific time – allows air traffic controllers and managers to manage aircraft in congested airspace more efficiently by smoothing out irregularities and delivering a more consistent flow of traffic down to the runway.
Once training is completed and TBFM becomes fully operational, it is expected to be more robust than the old system and provide a better platform for NextGen operations, such as the performance-based navigation procedures that are now being rolled out.
This successful deployment phase of TBFM reflects a high degree of teamwork within the agency and with Lockheed Martin, which produced the system. Each of the 20 en route centers worked with multiple ATO Service Units, and technical issues were resolved through strong collaboration and support from controllers, technicians and labor partners.
In the future, the system will be deployed at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Baltimore Washington International Airport and Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.