Long Term Planning and Tasking
The Long Term Plans Branch (LTP) assesses Air Transport (AT) requirements and produces AT-plans accordingly. EATC Planning Conferences help the EATC to predetermine future flight requirements and consider them early enough in their planning. Moreover, the goal of these bi-annual conferences is to establish and maintain links to AT/AAR planning points of contact within nations. During EATC Planning Conferences, national experts discuss the planning updates by comparing and completing relevant planning information. They also implement any changes concerning national airlift and tanker fleet and precise future focal points in national and EATC plans.
Air Transport Requests (ATRs) received from EATC Partner Nations’ National Movement and Transportation Coordination Centres (NMTCC’s) are first registered before they can be processed. The correctness and completeness have to be confirmed. Changes to existing ATRs will be checked and EATC Partner Nations are automatically informed about the status of ATRs in MEAT.
Due to the large number of ATRs, it is also necessary to prioritize and to communicate closely with the NMTCCs. Together with these “clients”, EATC LTP looks for and coordinates possibilities for synergies of AT- missions. The Long Term Planners proceed with an initial route planning which takes alternative routes, route calculations, over flight allowances and assessments on the suitability of the airfields into account. A close internal coordination with other branches in the EATC OPS Division is an additional key to success.
Appropriate solutions for future challenges
The EATC LTP branch has to cope with the overall ageing of the tactical military AT fleet. The A400M is going to fill this gap, but deliveries of this new asset will be spread over more than the next ten years.
On the other hand, the non-tactical AT fleet under the Operational Control (OPCON) of the EATC is much younger. A total of e.g. eight large Airbus (Pax) aircraft offers a total capacity of 1,620 seats. These figures have even increased since the Transfer of authority (TOA) of the Belgian white fleet, composed of with four Embraer Regional Jets and two Falcon Jets. This took place early 2014 and added another 188 seats to the total capacity of the EATC.
Even with the progressive introduction of the A400M during the next few years the EATC still observes a decreasing number of aircraft under its control. Getting more and more A400M into service will increase the total airlift capacity of the EATC fleet and become finally larger as it is today.
The EATC fleet has changed again beginning of 2015 with the TOA of Spanish transport aircraft to EATC. Moreover, the expected TOA of Italian transport aircraft in 2016 will have a profound influence on the given number of assigned aircraft. Those new airframes are going to present new challenges to the LTP branch, as this will imply even more optimization and cross-national use. On the other hand, LTP has so far always been able to cope with similar situations in the past and will surely find appropriate solutions for future challenges as well.