Weather phenomena can evolve at rapid rates, over a wide spatial extent when compared to other factors that may affect the safe conduct of a flight. The impact of weather on air traffic management may cause a reduction in traffic flow rate at airports with consequent delays in departures, arrivals and diversions the effects of which are inconveniences to passengers; misplaced assets and increased costs through extra consumption of fuel affecting profitability for airline operations; and the environmental impact from noise and pollution. Air traffic planning also assumes that fair weather conditions will predominate so the occurrence of adverse weather places extra demand on air traffic controllers as the effects on traffic flow are realised. The recovery time back toward an orderly traffic flow can take several days. Thus, within the spectrum of aeronautical information, meteorological data or weather information is an important component for the efficient and effective management of air traffic in the future.
In this paper, an account is given of the initiatives currently taking place in Europe to mitigate the effects of adverse weather; through forecasting, dissemination and integration into decision making processes. How developments from the FLYSAFE project could be applied to air traffic management; for the provision of data for continuous descent approaches; and for data link developments to integrate weather information into automated decision support tools, which can alert controllers to impacts on traffic flow in the near-term to medium-term timescales.
This paper will describe the state of development of FLYSAFE's Weather Information Management Systems, used to provide forecasts of the main weather hazards that may affect the safe and efficient conduct of a flight: ice, thunderstorms, wake-vortices and turbulence; as well as, the ground-based weather processor architecture and the data model used to exchange data. These developments are placed into the context of a net-centric information environment that leads the drive toward automation of air traffic management and the role change of air traffic management operators from being “in the decision loop” to “monitoring the decision loop.”
Supplementary URL: http://www.eu-flysafe.org/Project.html