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Predictability reinforces safety

19 mars 2015 (mis à jour le 4 juillet 2016) - Transports

Providing customers with tangible pre tactical and tactical solutions is a necessity to respond to cost and fuel efficiency demands. That is the reason why DSNA has developed a high degree of expertise in traffic flow and capacity analysis.


Flight plan adherence becomes a safety need

Pre tactical measures are implemented to prevent ATC sectors from receiving more traffic than the controllers can safely handle. All this work is based on flight plan profiles, as filed by the airlines and accepted by Eurocontrol’s Network Manager in Brussels. Any breach into this fine-tuned process may result in a capacity issue, leading to over-deliveries (defined as the delivery of 10% more traffic than the declared capacity) thus incidentally to a safety issue.

The analysis of such events show that flights were not flying at the filed cruising level, flying a different route than the one planned or departing outside the estimated time slot allowed by the system.
When flying a different profile than the one planned, crew may enter a control sector wherein they were not expected, causing potential over-deliveries and disruption in ATC anticipation.


Pre tactical measures are also applied to ensure timely and efficient service.

Ensuring the best traffic flow predictability also enhances the effectiveness of the network demand/capacity optimisation throughout the European airspace.
When flying a different profile than the one foreseen, crew will not fly in awaiting sectors, thus wasting capacity for the others.


The main objective is to reach global awareness of the network constraints.

Therefore, in the best interest of all operational actors, best practices need to be followed all year round. What do they consist of ?

Unless there is an unquestionable operational issue or for any safety reasons, crew should comply with their filed flight plan.
Before accepting any changes to the flight plan (flight levels or route), ATCOs should assess the consequences with their Flow Management Units and promote mitigating solutions when available.
ATCOs will not suggest changes that may impact the traffic flow counts, especially in regulated sectors.