The FAA’s “Vision for Trajectory Based Operations”, Version 2.0 dated September 2017, states that TBO will leverage NextGen improvements to make flight operations more efficient and predictable:
“TBO in 2025 depends upon use of improved data sets and greater collaboration between the FAA and its customers to enable better traffic planning and scheduling decisions. Improved data sets reflect access to new data elements, more accurate and timely data, and data integrated into automation tools where appropriate.”
A corner stone initiative of TBO is time-based management of air traffic as stated in the FAA TBO Vision.
“Time-based management means the planning and scheduling of operations based on expected airport departure and arrival times and other user-provided inputs.”
Airport operations and their gate assignment, push back operations, parking sequencing/scheduling, diversion handling, de-icing, departure sequencing, special event management, airport managed ramp tower operations, etc. will have significant influence on obtaining/calculating these expected times. Airport input to expected operations will be extremely important in rapid recovery to efficient operations during any type of irregular operations.
Several mechanisms promise benefit to airports that participate in such TBO efforts. The airport is in a unique position to supply information about all operators for TBO, even for flight operators that participate directly in CDM activities. Additionally airport furnished information about non-participating operators improves the ability to predict delays due to demand in excess of capacity for all operations. The promise of TBO is to adjust operations across the system to address delays in phases of flight where they are least costly to remedy. Tackling such problems together with the FAA would allow greater reach and effectiveness than the already successful programs being taken by airports on their own, such as the coordination of GA movement undertaken at Las Vegas McCarran International Airport. A participating airport may be able to decrease delay levels experienced by its flight operator customers while increasing infrastructure utilization (especially gates), improving passenger handling and thus avoiding overcrowding and long lines, and shortening the time to recover from IROPS.
Presently airports have limited knowledge of TBO planning and implementation. A guidebook for Airports to Enhance/Support FAA Trajectory Based Operations (TBO) would be a valuable asset for airports to support NextGen operations and to benefit from their resulting efficiencies.