Eliminating holding patterns in the extended terminal area

Apr. 23, 2019

Point merge not only delivers a more efficient arrival route structure in the terminal airspace, it can be applied to the extended terminal airspace area for pre-sequencing traffic. SESAR has developed point merge for this environment to enable the arrival manager (AMAN) to establish a more predictable arrival sequence. Integrating and optimising arrival streams contributes to the overall arrival management process both in terms of aircraft efficiency and airport operations. It is this predictability which can significantly improve capacity in dense and complex terminal airspace, and avoid unnecessary holding.

This SESAR solution #108 "Arrival Management (AMAN) and Point Merge" is composed of a point merge system coupled with an arrival management tool that provides sequencing support based on trajectory prediction. Rather than entering holding patterns, aircraft in the extended terminal area enter PBN routes referred to as point merge legs, where they fly briefly in a level-off lateral holding situation where the distance to the merge point remains constant. When the spacing with the preceding aircraft is attained, the controller will instruct the next aircraft on the leg to turn direct to the merge point. Unlike conventional traffic streams which are individually vectored, the turn the aircraft needs to perform in the point merge leg is always the same, which simplifies the controller’s tasks. The flight crew’s task is also simplified by the use of this standardised manoeuvre which is predictable and repeatable.

This solution is implemented in Germany, France and Ireland and planned in Italy and Portugal.