Airservices is Australia's air navigation service provider - we provide air traffic control, aviation rescue and fire fighting and air navigation services.

Airport Capacity Enhancement

Airport Capacity Enhancement (ACE) is a national program commissioned by Airservices to address the growing demand at Australia’s major airports – Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, and most recently ACE has been established in Adelaide. ACE is known as the Sydney ATM Strategic Planning Group (SASPG) in Sydney.

ACE identifies opportunities to improve the efficiency and use of existing infrastructure in order to increase runway capacity, that is, it aims to maximise the airport’s latent capacity. This involves improving processes and practices of ATC, airport operators and airlines. Changes and improvements to infrastructure can also be considered, but optimising existing infrastructure is the initial objective.

ACE follows the European ACE model and is based on a principal of broad collaboration and cooperation within the airport community to address the challenge of airport congestion and delay. Within the Australian aviation environment, ACE is led by Airservices.

There are three common themes to the program:

  1. Harmonisation: Increasing efficiency must be in harmony with current Australian standards and practices, while providing sufficient room for the development of local procedures.
  2. Collaboration: Every movement matters and every second counts. Over many movements, the seconds add up to create additional capacity that in turn can reduce delays. The benefits are shared by all and can be achieved collaboratively.
  3. Performance management: Performance must be monitored and measured in order to tactically manage improvement in ATC and pilot performance. By measuring performance, new methods can be assessed and refined.

Safety remains the aviation industry’s over-riding priority. ACE introduces measures that improve the overall safety by ensuring smooth, planned operations with enhanced situational awareness.

In consultation with airlines & ATC, the ACE program has progressed from initially providing general information about the objectives of the program to developing specific procedures and expectations to drive the delivery of capacity improvements.

Strategic Plans

Strategic Plans were developed for each participating airport focusing on:

  • Improving arrival spacing
  • Standardising terminal arrival speeds
  • Reducing runway occupancy times and pilot response times
  • Improving communication between airport partners

Many of these improvement initiatives have been completed, and a summary of the performance improvements were identified in Operational Performance Assessments undertaken by UK NATS at Brisbane in February 2014 and at Melbourne and Perth in October 2014.

Brisbane  Brisbane Strategic Plan and Roadmap version 1.0 (669kb)
Perth  Perth Strategic Plan and Roadmap version 1.1 (929kb)
Melbourne  Melbourne Strategic Plan and Roadmap version 1.1  (713kb)
Sydney  Sydney Strategic Plan version 1.0 (873kb)
Adelaide  Strategic Plan (277kb)
 Terms of Reference (142kb)


A number of operational performance requirements associated with important capacity and efficiency initiatives are now procedures in AIP/DAP:

  • Airport Efficiency in DAP for ML, BN, SY, PH. This is a page devoted to expected pilot behaviour and performance on the RWY and includes preferred exit taxiways for arriving aircraft.
  • Standard Terminal Area Arrival Speeds (STAAS) for ML, BN, SY, PH and AD (AIP ENR 1.5 – 45 para 11). The objective is to provide predictable spacing and speeds on final, optimising arrival sequencing and assisting efficient departure management.
  • Feeder Fix Flow (AIP ENR 1.9 – 5 para 4).  Details feeder fix flow and provides expectations in regard to accuracy of the aircraft’s time over feeder fix.

The Network Coordination Centre (NCC) provides information to help measure and monitor the effectiveness of ATFM and ACE activities. The NCC Portal now includes the following reports:

  • Airport Performance Reports
  • ATFM Compliance
  • Perth Departure Compliance
  • aROT Reports (BN, SY, ML, PH)
  • STAAS Reports (BN, SY, ML, PH, AD)

Operational Performance Improvements

As well as the initiatives included in the Strategic Plans, ACE/SASPG undertakes a number of other improvement initiatives.