Pilot Common Project

The European Commission has adopted a Regulation for the implementation of the Pilot Common Project, the first set of Air Traffic Management (ATM) functionalities that have been identified for wide scale coordinated deployment. Published on 27 June 2014 in the Official Journal of the European Union, the Regulation aims to ensure that the ATM functionalities developed within the SESAR Research and Innovation (R&I) are deployed in a timely, coordinated and synchronised way. Deployment in such a way is expected to bring important performance and cost benefits for Europe’s aviation and air transport sectors.

TBS is part of the PCP as a sub-functionality that aims to enhance the Integrated Airports Operations and Runway Throughput. This means that by 31-12-2023 TBS has to be deployed in the following European airports: London-Heathrow (deployed), London-Gatwick, Paris-Orly, Milan-Malpensa, Frankfurt International, Madrid-Barajas, Amsterdam-Schiphol, Munich Franz Josef Strauss, Rome-Fiumicino, Zurich Kloten (1), Düsseldorf International, Oslo Gardermoen (2), Manchester Ringway, Copenhagen Kastrup, Vienna Schwechat, Dublin. TBS should also be operated at the Istanbul Ataturk Airport.
(1) Subject to incorporation of this Regulation into Agreement between the European Community and the Swiss Confederation on Air Transport.
(2) Subject to incorporation of this Regulation into EEA Agreement.

TBS Specification

The EUROCONTROL Specification for Time Based Separation support tool for Final Approach defines a set of performance requirements for a TBS support tool, which complies with Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 716/2014 and supports the deployment of ATM Functionality (AF) 2: “Airport Integration and Throughput”, sub-functionality “Time-Based Separation for Final Approach” as well as Operational Improvement (OI) Step AO-0303 ‘’TBS for Final Approach’’ from the ATM Master Plan and other wake turbulence OI Steps such as AO-0306 “Wake turbulence separations based on static aircraft characteristics”. The specification can be downloaded via the EUROCONTROL website at the following link.

Implementation at London-Heathrow

TBS was introduced into full operational service at Heathrow Airport on 24 March 2015 in response to customer feedback, nine years ahead of the legal requirement for TBS to be operational at Europe's busiest airports and two years ahead of NATS initial plans. The deployment of TBS at Heahtrow is a world-first that offers significant benefits, between May and July 2015 Wind related ATFM (AIr Traffic Flow Management) delays were reduced by 62% with an increase of 20 movements per day during all wind conditions and 49 movements per day during strong wind. Further information on TBS implementation is available on NATS website.