Company wants closer US/EU involvement and harmonisation in drafting future air traffic management plans

Honeywell is calling for international harmonisation between US and European future air traffic management plans to speed up modernisation and improve airspace capacity. The company also warns that unless the US effort is fully funded, it risks being unable to handle future growth.

"We're in a big world of hurt, and it could be a big constraint [to growth] if nothing is done," says Honeywell aerospace electronic systems president and chief executive Dean Flatt. "It's really not on anyone's screen – and that's a real problem."

In an effort to raise awareness of the situation, Honeywell has started working with US groups including the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, the Aerospace Industries Association and the National Business Aviation Association. Flatt says Honeywell is also "discussing it with Boeing".

"The group is also working with Congress. The [US] FAA [Federal Aviation Administration] is worried about its operational funding, so we have to work with Congress."

A key goal is to try to increase globalisation of future ATM system development, says Honeywell, which believes the two current initiatives are too polarised. Europe's Sesame (Single European Sky ATM Masterplan Project) is in the early stages of a two-year definition phase, and is funded with ?60 million ($77 million) split equally between the European Commission and Eurocontrol.

The consortium is led by the Air Traffic Alliance, a team of Airbus, EADS and Thales, with US suppliers expected to get less than 1% of any future work. Conversely, the US Next Generation Air Transportation System (NGATS) is headed by a complex federal government-run joint planning and development office (JPDO) comprising eight integrated product teams.

Honeywell and its supporters are proposing changes to the structure to increase industry involvement, give it more of a system-level focus and increase international participation. "We want the JPDO opened up to include more players with some reciprocity," says Flatt.

The aim therefore is to open up international collaboration between the two plans. "There has got to be more global integration," says Flatt. "There's got to be more European involvement in the USA, and more US involvement with them."


Source: Flight International