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Jamaica working to meet air traffic flow management targets

Thursday, October 17, 2019

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THE Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA) says it has renewed its commitment to meeting the regional goal of 100 per cent air traffic flow management (ATFM), as stipulated by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

The JCAA says that, with the increase in volume of air traffic internationally, including in the Caribbean and South America, ICAO has mandated that states within the Caribbean and South American regions establish ATFM units as a solution to the increases in delays, aviation personnel workload, fuel burn, and greenhouse gas emission, while ensuring safety is maintained.

Additionally, data from ICAO had indicated that both regions would experience an increase in aircraft movement and passengers of 8.2 per cent and 8.9 per cent, respectively, over the period 2007-2027. However, that projection has since been revised to reflect an annual traffic growth of approximately two per cent.

The Kingston Flight Information Region (Jamaica's airspace) experienced an average annual growth rate of 3.9 per cent between 2004 and 2018.

Increased air traffic has already led to significant implications for states like Jamaica, that handle a significant number of overflights. This has resulted in increased greenhouse gas emissions, an increase in the workload of aviation personnel, and an impact on operational efficiency.

In response to this issue, in 2013, the ICAO developed a Global Air Navigation Plan, which is a rolling 15-year strategic methodology that leverages existing technologies and anticipates future developments based on state or industry agreed on operational objectives.

The JCAA made the commitment to the regional goal of 100 per cent Air Traffic Flow Management when it signed the Port of Spain declaration on April 30, 2014.

As a key requirement of this commitment, JCAA established Jamaica's ATFM Unit in June 2018. The unit is actively involved in the ongoing training of personnel and the development of a traffic management log, ATFM daily planning, as well as daily collaboration with the international aviation community.

Recently, Jamaica was recognised as a leading regional voice on aviation matters, with the JCAA's Director General Nari Williams-Singh being appointed president for the ICAO's 40th Assembly.

Commenting on Jamaica's ATFM development, Williams-Singh noted.

“Currently, Jamaica is experiencing an almost four per cent per annum increase in air traffic and we expect that number to become even higher as tourism and business arrivals go up,” he said.

“While this is great for the economy, continued system improvements are necessary to maintain and enhance air safety. This is why the JCAA has and continues to implement the necessary measures to facilitate collaboration among system stakeholders, as we ensure an optimum flow of air traffic throughout all phases of a flight. This work will be even further enhanced when we procure our new, cutting-edge ATFM software,” he added.

Air traffic flow management is the regulation of air traffic in order to avoid exceeding airport or air traffic control capacity in handling traffic, and to ensure that available capacity is used efficiently.


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