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CASE STUDY

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									OPAG PROMET, Expert Team on Customer Focus – Case Study




METEOROLOGICAL CONSULTATION WITH AERONAUTICAL USERS IN THE
UNITED KINGDOM

INTRODUCTION

The Government Department responsible for aviation services within the United
Kingdom (UK) is the Department for Transport (DfT). This department delegates the
regulation and provision of air traffic services for civil aviation to the independent Civil
Aviation Authority (CAA), which acts as the Meteorological Authority (Met Authority)
for aviation in the UK. Air navigation services are provided to aircraft flying in the UK
airspace and over the eastern part of the North Atlantic by National Air Traffic
Services Limited (NATS), which separated from the CAA in 2001 and is run as a
public private partnership.

Meteorological services for aviation are provided by the UK Met Office, which is the
National Meteorological Service for the UK. These services are arranged through
contract agreements with the CAA and NATS. The agreements ensure that
international services are compliant with ICAO Annex 3 / WMO Technical
Regulations, and that national services meet the requirements specified by the UK
Government to ensure the safety of all flights within UK airspace.

Services provided under these agreements include:

•   World Area Forecast Centre (WAFC)
•   Satellite Distribution system (SADIS)
•   Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC)
•   Annex 3 services for the UK below 24,000ft
•   Specific services to the CAA
•   Data for offshore helicopter operations and NATS
•   Observing at aerodromes

CONSULATION WITH AERONAUTICAL USERS

Formal consultation with aeronautical users is conducted by the CAA within the UK.
Consultation occurs on a national and regional basis with:

•   Major airlines and pilots
•   Small and medium size airlines and pilots
•   Soaring / gliding clubs and pilots
•   Balloon operators and pilots
•   ATC ( tower, approach and area controllers)
•   Airport authorities / companies
•   Civil Aviation Authorities
•   Industry groups (e.g. AOPA, IATA etc)
•   Military

Consultation is organised and regular with users being consulted at least twice per
year. Questionnaires, meetings and workshops are used in order to discuss items
with users. Topics are wide ranging, including for instance:

•   Legislation
•   Contractual arrangements and costs


October 2005
OPAG PROMET, Expert Team on Customer Focus – Case Study




•   Meteorological codes and reporting procedures
•   Station allocations on VOLMET
•   Forecast products and services
•   Suggestions for topics for Met Research and Development
•   Outcomes of Met Research and Development

Users are generally satisfied with the consultation undertaken by the UK CAA and
the outcome of such consultation includes:

•   Improvements to existing products and services
•   New meteorological products
•   Changes to products, practices and procedures
•   Research and development projects
•   Reductions in costs and changes to contracts

CONSULTATION IN PRACTICE

The principle means by which the CAA consults aeronautical users and the industry
as a whole is through a group called NATMAC. The Directorate of Airspace Policy
(within which the Met Authority resides within the CAA), has formed the National Air
Traffic Management Advisory Committee (NATMAC), which formally meets every 6
months and can be consulted at any other time via correspondence. The current
groups represented at NATMAC are:

Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA)
Airport Operators Association (AOA)
British Airways (BA)
BAA plc
British Air Line Pilots Association (BALPA)
British Air Transport Association (BATA)
British Balloon and Airship Club (BBAC)
British Gliding Association (BGA)
British Business & General Aviation Association (BBGA)
British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association (BHPA)
British Helicopter Advisory Board (BHAB)
British Microlight Aircraft Association (BMAA)
British Parachute Association (BPA)
General Aviation Safety Council (GASCo)
Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators (GAPAN)
Guild of Air Traffic Control Officers (GATCO)
Heavy Airlines
Helicopter Club of Great Britain (HCGB)
Light Airlines
NATS
Popular Flying Association (PFA)
Royal Aero Club (RAeC)
Society of British Aerospace Companies (SBAC)
UK Airprox Board (UKAB)
UK Flight Safety Committee
Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Systems Association (UAVSA)
Ministry of Defence




October 2005
OPAG PROMET, Expert Team on Customer Focus – Case Study



There are also a number of information addressees to which invitations to attend
NATMAC are extended but who are generally not consulted on every topic - the Met
Office being one of such addressees.

As the list above is so wide-ranging, there are also two sub-committees that sit, again
twice per year, one being the Airline Working Group (AWG), the other the General
Aviation Working Group (GAWG). These two groups consider the issues that affect
them in greater detail. The GAWG, for example, was particularly interested in recent
proposed changes to the Forms 215 (UK Low Level Significant Weather Chart) and
415 (European Significant Weather Chart) (further details are provided below).

All three groups, NATMAC, AWG and GAWG, are effective because they represent
their users' interests as a whole rather than on an individual basis. The only issue
being that any consultation must allow sufficient time for the groups to consult their
members and collate the responses. A consultation typically takes 3 months to
complete.

Additionally, there are two other ways by which the Met Authority consults with users.
The first is the UK en-route charge consultation meeting, which is held annually. This
is a meeting, chaired by NATS and attended by the CAA, DfT and IATA, to discuss
all of the proposed constituents that go to make up the en-route charge, which is the
charge most commercial aircraft pay to fly in UK airspace for the provision of air
navigation services. Charges for meteorology account for about 6% of the total
charge. Here detail is provided to users on changes to the meteorological charges for
the following year (i.e. new services and inflation). The users have an opportunity to
discuss and challenge any of the proposed changes and the meeting outcome is fed
into the Eurocontrol Enlarged Committee for Route Charges, which sets and collects
the charges across Europe.

Secondly, the Met. Authority consults with users through the IATA MET Working
Group, which meets twice per year, to look at specific meteorological issues affecting
its members. This typically looks at the broad picture e.g. the requirement for 30 hour
TAFs or global significant weather charts. Issues here can clearly affect the WAFC
requirements, which make up around 40% of total UK MET costs.

The full NATMAC consultation outlined above is used as appropriate. Yet
consultation does vary from this process. For instance:

•   In March 2004 a request from ATC Coventry for an 18-hour TAF was received.
    The Met. Authority then sought information from the airlines as to why the 18-
    hour TAF was required. Full justification was provided by the operators as to why
    such a TAF was required to meet operational needs of users operating to and
    from the airport (and indirectly for aircraft being able to use Coventry for
    diversions). The service was hence agreed and the Met Office asked to
    commence service with effect from May 2004.

•   Similarly in May 2005, an Offshore Helicopter Operator operating in the North
    Sea requested a TREND forecast to be provided for Sumburgh airport on the
    Shetland Islands. Consultation occurred with other operators, aerodrome and
    CAA's Flight Operations Inspectors to establish the requirement, to which full
    agreement was received. The service will be introduced in October 2005.

However, for significant service changes, e.g. proposed changes to the UK low level
forecast significant weather charts used by commercial operators and all types of
general aviation alike, the Met. Authority consulted with all NATMAC members.

October 2005
OPAG PROMET, Expert Team on Customer Focus – Case Study



EXAMPLES OF BEST PRACTICE

Low Level Significant Weather Charts

Having successfully relocated its headquarters and main operations centre from
Bracknell to Exeter, in November 2004 the Met Office embarked on a project to
update its forecasting and production systems to take account of technological
advances. As such, the Met Office offered the Met Authority at the Civil Aviation
Authority an upgrade and possible replacement for the F215 (UK Low Level
Significant Weather Chart) and F415 (European Significant Weather Chart), for
implementation during 2005.

Sample versions and full details of the new briefing charts were placed on the Met
Office website for the CAA and general aviation users to consider the upgrade and
possible replacement. The upgrade included a new landscape layout displayed as a
gif image for on screen viewing, with a link to a printable PDF version.

In order to encourage comment and debate by users, the Met authority distributed
this link to users at the beginning of January 2005. A letter was sent out electronically
giving full details of the proposed change and the web address of where examples
could be found on the web.

Feedback was passed directly to the Met authority, who analysed these and
presented findings to the Met Office at one of the regular quarterly meetings between
the two parties. As a result, the Met Office made a number of adjustments to the
proposed charts, specifically:

•   An extended range surface front and isobar chart was included due to popular
    demand.
•   The F214 issue and validity times were aligned to the new F215 charts
•   Usability was enhanced so that users could print out the landscape chart without
    having to adjust their printer settings

In addition, the CAA and Met Office agreed to:

•   Produce the F414 charts 4 times per day valid at 0000, 0600, 1200 and 1800
    UTC rather than 3 times per day valid at 0900, 1500 and 2100 UTC.
•   Implement similar changes in issue time and validity period to the F214 and F414
    spot wind charts for consistency across the low level product range.

A new consultation will shortly be released to update the NATMAC members on the
changes that have been made and to seek their opinion. If no adverse comment is
received then information on the changes will be promulgated to all interested parties
and a date set for implementation.

As the Met Office also supply intermediary companies with such low level charts on a
commercial arrangement (charging for distribution only), the Met Office also assisted
the consultation process by informing relevant customers of the proposals. Once
again, users were asked to respond with comments direct to the Met authority. This
additional communication was felt necessary in order to give such customers as
much warning as possible and prepare them for possible adjustments in order for
their systems to accept new format charts.




October 2005
OPAG PROMET, Expert Team on Customer Focus – Case Study




LISTENING TO USERS & DETERMINING REQUIREMENTS

The Met Office and the CAA engage with each other and with stakeholders through a
series of meetings. These are detailed in the table below.

CAA and users         •   The CAA regularly conducts surveys of the aviation
                          community in relation to meteorological service performance.
                      •   Formal quarterly meetings are held between the Met Office
                          and CAA to discuss service delivery and performance.
CAA, NATS &           •   Research and Development meetings are held which include
users                     representatives from IATA (representing many of the world’s
                          airlines, who provide 94% of international scheduled air
                          traffic), and BALPA (pilots and flight engineers trade union
                          and professional association representing members in UK
                          airlines)
                      •   Feedback was recently received from a meeting of helicopter
                          operators, concerning changes to the meteorological
                          information required from a replacement weather system for
                          offshore operations.
ICAO                  •   Formal ICAO regional meetings for Europe, Africa, Asia,
                          Pacific and the Middle East. Met Office attends and submits
                          papers as representative or advisor to UK Met Authority.
                          Includes discussion of issues and recording of new
                          requirements.
GASCO                 •   The Met Office attends GASCO (General Aviation Safety
General Aviation          Council) Meetings,       liaising with     General    Aviation
                          representatives from twenty-five organisations.
Satellite             •   SADIS Operations Group attended as advisor to Met
Distribution              Authority.
System for            •   SADIS Cost Recovery Administrative Group (SCRAG). An
Information               annual meeting concerned with funding of the SADIS service,
Relating to Air           attended by both Met Office and Met Authority.
Navigation            •   Approximately once per year, IATA submit operational
(SADIS)                   requirements for OPMET distributed through SADIS. ICAO
                          amends the formal requirement document after consultation
                          with the states concerned. The CAA and NATS then obtain
                          any new data required.
WAFC                  •   Met Office attends the WAFS Operations Group, every 18
                          months. IATA (International Air Transport Association) and
                          IFALPA (International Federation Airline Pilots Association)
                          representatives are present to offer feedback and
                          requirements from airlines and pilots.
                      •   WAFS liaison meetings are held regularly between the two
                          WAFCs and respective met authorities to ensure consistency
                          of approach to the provision of WAFS.
VAAC                  •   IAVWOPSG attended every 18 months. Once again airlines
                          and pilots are represented at these meetings
IATA                  •   IATA Met Working Group meetings occur twice per year and
                          the Met Office is invited to attend on a regular basis. This
                          allows the Met Office to accurately determine the
                          meteorological requirements of airlines.
                      •   Recent examples of changes based on feedback from this


October 2005
OPAG PROMET, Expert Team on Customer Focus – Case Study




                             meeting include a 30 hour TAF which ICAO are currently
                             testing in the European Region, and the addition of jet depth
                             to significant weather charts.
Department for •             DfT ATM Stakeholder forum attended
Transport (DfT)



QUALITY SYSTEM

Consultation with customers and users is an important part of ISO 9001, the
international standard to which the Met Office has complied since 2002. Similarly, as
part of the CAA’s Directorate of Airspace Policy’s on-going drive to improve
performance, and as an ISO-certified body, they believe it is imperative to listen to
stakeholders and identify where they could do better. As such they carry out a
survey every three years and publish the outcome and proposed actions in a report
available from their website.


Case Study prepared by Amy Reynolds, MetOffice, UK and Andy Wells, CAA, UK




October 2005

								
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