Aerospace Industries Association proposal calls for collaborative traffic management in higher airspace

A new report prepared by the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) Emerging Technologies Commitee (ETC), Airspace Working Group, has put forward a collaborative traffic management scenario in higher airspace for consideration by relevant stakeholders. The report finds that growth of Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) technologies has expedited the need for a national airspace strategy that includes commercial flight operations in higher airspace.

According to the report, demand for airspace access is expected to grow significantly. The mix of aircraft types, performance characteristics, operational missions, and technology advancements will be significant. This diverse collection of operations and technologies will present significant challenges to the systems and procedures used for today’s traditional traffic management as the number of operations increase. Future traffic management concepts for emerging airspace users will depend heavily on the use of community based rules for collaborative traffic management operations. These community-based rules are intended to be formed by the airspace users and approved by a state’s civil aviation authority (CAA) for safety and equity. The AIA paper puts forward an integrated collaborative traffic management scenario in higher airspace for consideration by relevant stakeholders.

Next steps

As demand for airspace access grows, operators, vehicle manufacturers and service providers need a globally recognized set of requirements to support safe and effective operations. With many States around the globe working on regional solutions, some focus on harmonization is warranted over time. The paper says it is essential that the global higher airspace community and key regulators work with ICAO to develop:

  • a globally accepted concept of operations (CONOPS) for higher airspace operations
  • a globally accepted set of community-based rules for routine global operations
  • a legal framework for these vehicles to fly globally through designated Flight Information Regions (FIR’s).

Note: The foundation for ICAO’s support in developing Global SARPS & PAN OPS for higher airspace flight operations was established during the ICAO 40th General Assembly in January 2019 with the presentation of two Technical Working Papers: Upper Airspace (A40-WP/120 TE/41 & UAS Traffic Management A40-WP/209 TE/88).

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