Factsheet on Key Projects Under the Centre of Excellence for Air Traffic Management Initiative

MediaRelease 12 April 2016

Singapore as A Centre of Excellence for Air Traffic Management

CAAS is developing Singapore as a Centre of Excellence for air traffic management (ATM) to meet the needs of Singapore and the Asia Pacific region.

I     ATM R&D Facilities in Singapore

Two facilities dedicated to ATM Research and Development (R&D) have been established in Singapore:

  1. the ATM Research Institute (ATMRI), established by CAAS and the Nanyang Technological University to undertake academic-based research for innovative ATM solutions; and
  2. the MITRE Asia Pacific Singapore (MAPS), established by CAAS and The MITRE Corporation to support CAAS in ATM development and harmonisation in the Asia Pacific region.

The agreement to establish a third ATM R&D facility (a joint laboratory), was jointly signed by CAAS and the Institute for Infocomm Research (I2R) in February 2016. This laboratory will leverage I2R’s expertise in areas such as data analytics, information technology, and signal processing and computing.

II    ATM R&D collaborations overseas

CAAS has other collaborative agreements with international ATM and research entities. These include the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) in the US and the Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) in Europe. CAAS has also signed Memorandums of Cooperation (MoCs) with the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Airbus ProSky and SESAR Joint Undertaking (SESAR JU) to advance ATM R&D.

In March 2016, CAAS signed a MoC with the Civil Aviation Bureau of Japan (JCAB), CAAS’ first with a fellow Asia Pacific air navigation services provider (ANSP), to jointly promote ATM transformation in the region.

III   New ATM Programme Fund

CAAS has established a S$200 million Centre of Excellence for ATM Programme Fund to support these and other projects. CAAS aims to develop a vibrant ATM R&D eco-system, comprising research institutes, think-tanks, academia, industry players, international ATM entities and aviation stakeholders. The convergence of minds, ideas and innovations will facilitate the development, testing and validation of ATM concepts, technologies and solutions for Singapore and the Asia Pacific region.

Key Projects Under the Centre of Excellence for ATM Initiative

Details of four key projects are below.

Project 1: Regional Airspace Capacity Enhancement – ASEAN Pilot

With air traffic in the Asia Pacific region projected to triple by 2030, ASEAN is taking steps to manage the heavier and more complex air traffic flows.

The vision of a Seamless ASEAN Sky will enhance air traffic capacity and enable a higher degree of safety, efficiency and predictability in air traffic control operations within ASEAN. The development of expertise in ATM modelling and simulation is necessary to achieve this vision.

Hence, ATMRI has been working with ASEAN ANSPs to analyse air traffic flows, predict future air traffic demand and assess airspace capacity. This is done in collaboration with Eurocontrolunder the auspices of the EU-ASEAN Air Transport Integration Project (AATIP). The outcome of these studies will be used to develop solutions to improve the efficiency of air traffic flows and increase airspace capacity.

Through this project, the ATMRI has also been approached by various ASEAN States, including Cambodia, Lao PDR, the Philippines and Myanmar, to conduct simulation and modelling studies for air traffic in their airspace.

Project 2: CAAS-Airbus Prosky Project: Regional Air Traffic Flow Management for The Asia Pacific

The robust growth of air traffic in the Asia Pacific region brings with it increased complexities for air traffic management. Thus, it is increasingly necessary to balance air traffic demand and capacity at key airports in order to minimise delays.

In 2013, CAAS and Airbus ProSky initiated a research collaboration project to develop a new multi-nodal regional Air Traffic Flow Management (ATFM) concept, based on Collaborative Decision Making (CDM). Under this concept, the flow of air traffic between airports in this region can be regulated by ANSPs by synchronising the departure time of flights so as to minimise delays at the arrival airport. Being able to regulate flight arrivals more precisely will help optimise airport capacity. The reduction of arrival delays would also minimise the aircraft having to hold in the air, and this reduces fuel burn, carbon emissions, and costs for airlines.

In Europe and the US, ATFM is typically provided via a single entity. To serve the unique circumstances of this region, the Asia Pacific’s ATFM/CDM concept uses a network of multiple ATFM entities that collectively participate in a real-time decision-making process to flexibly manage air traffic demand to optimise the capacity at major airports, in response to operational conditions.

The project between CAAS and Airbus Prosky has resulted in a prototype concept. A one-year operational trial has commenced in June 2015 to validate this prototype. ANSPs from Australia, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam are participating in this trial. If successful, the prototype will pave the way for region wide implementation of ATFM.

Project 3: Traffic Management of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)

Traffic Management of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (TM-UAS) is a critical enabler for UAS operations. Successful development and deployment of TM-UAS will allow us to capture the greatest possible value and benefits from UAS operations.

ATMRI is working to establish future concepts of operation for UAS operations in Singapore’s urbanised environment to ensure the safe and efficient use of the airspace. This will be done through consultations with the industry, regulators, interest groups and end-users, evaluation of the concept through simulation and modelling techniques, and performing test-bedding and trials to validate the concepts of operation.

Project 4: Remote Control Tower Concept of Operation For Changi Airport

Globally, many ANSPs are actively exploring remote air traffic control (ATC) tower operations. The key motivation is to reduce operation costs by remotely providing ATC service, particularly at airports with low air traffic volume. The remote ATC tower capability also enables ANSPs to avoid any interruption of ATC service during contingencies, such as fires or earthquakes, which may affect the availability of the actual control tower.

Development works on remote ATC tower operations have so far been focused on airports with low to medium air traffic volume. The world’s first full service remote ATC tower became operational in October 2014 for a small airport3 in Sweden. CAAS assesses that the remote tower technology is fast maturing and suitable for airports with high intensity runway operations, such as Changi Airport. In October 2014, CAAS initiated a joint research project with MAPS to develop a remote tower concept of operations for Changi Airport, in which a remote tower could function as a back-up to the actual control tower. Singapore is the first country to experiment with remote tower technology for a high intensity operations airport. The project will determine the concept of operation and business case for a remote tower facility for Changi East (where Runway 3 and Terminal 5 will be located), identify the risks and mitigating measures, and develop approaches for active engagement of stakeholders.


1 Source: The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Cir 333, Global Air Transport Outlook to 2030.

Eurocontrol, the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation, is an inter-governmental organisation made up of 40 Member States and the European Union. Its primary objective is the development of a seamless, pan-European air traffic management system that will contribute to making European aviation safer, performance-driven and environmentally sustainable.

Sweden Örnsköldsvik Airport traffic volume: typically 15 to 16 operations/hour daily between 8:00 am and 10:00 pm and approximately 90,000 passengers per year. The remote operation of Örnsköldsvik Airport is done from Sundsvall Airport’s Remote Tower Centre located 120km to the south.

Air traffic controllers, regulators, airlines, pilots and the airport operator.

Last Updated on 21 May 2020