Air Traffic Flow Management

Quite separate from Air Traffic Control, where safe air navigation and traffic separation services are the primary objectives, the objectives of a Traffic Flow Management System (TFMS) is to provide services that are focused on cooperative planning and delay minimisation. The operational benefits of a TFMS are to provide airspace users and Air Traffic Controllers with enhanced services for:

  • the centralised management and allocation of available capacity;
  • notice of abnormal capacity situations (e.g. extreme weather conditions);
  • tools to implement delay programmes that limit cost implications to airspace users due to abnormal capacity situations;
  • relieve Air Traffic Controllers from a significant part of the work load and subsequently reduce stress levels during control operations;
  • provide aircraft operators with timely and accurate information on any event affecting the flow of air traffic and capacity of the airspace, and to propose effective solutions to minimise delays or to re-route traffic;
  • improve capacity, sector productivity and support costs;
  • improve information distribution and coordination with the ATC system and other users, improving ‘system-wide’ decision making;
  • expedite airport arrival, departure, taxiway and aircraft turnaround processes;
  • integrate all airspace users in ATM processes; and
  • optimise flight profiles and routes during adverse weather conditions affecting airspace operations.

ATNS is currently performing some of the above processes and has co-developed software to automate all Air Traffic Flow Management processes. The automation will be done through a totally integrated Air Traffic Flow Management System which has been installed at the Central Airspace Management Unit.


ATNS’s Central Airspace Management Unit (CAMU) manages the functions of the slot allocation programme alongside managing the flexible use of airspace (FUA), facilitating military exercises and operations, special and unusual events and any other activity which might require the use of airspace for a particular time period.

The Unit is also responsible for the re-routing of traffic affected by adverse weather and temporary restricted or special use airspace in consultation with the aviation community in a collaborative decision making (CDM) process. In addition, CAMU balances demand against capacity using the ATFM system after CDM with the appropriate aviation community members.