A sweeping report on air traffic management (ATM) in the USA points to major flaws in nearly all aspects of the US Federal Aviation Administration's air traffic control (ATC) operations.

The survey, conducted by FAA and US airline officials, reveals problems in ATM, decision-making, staffing and equipment at 33 ATC sites. The inspection results from ATC gridlock that has delayed flights this summer.

Poor communications within the air traffic management system and a lack of standardised equipment and automation throughout the system are highlighted.

"There is no standardised training for ATC personnel to understand system thinking and traffic management on a national level. Severe weather avoidance plan procedures are slow to be implemented and are poorly co-ordinated", says the report, which also lambasts land-and-hold short operations and the lack of planning for the increase in regional jet operations. This, it says, has "adversely impacted" system capacity.

The FAA has implemented ATC operational changes designed to ease the ATC gridlock quickly and more changes are planned.

Source: Flight International