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Jenn Lemmon
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New Command Integrates Info So We Can Respond to Emergencies Strategically and Quickly

One of the ways we have improved that process is by recently standing up the Joint Air Traffic Operations Command, or JATOC. The JATOC is now our single source of integrated information and response to incidents or emergencies that can range from an equipment outage that shuts down usage of a runway to an active shooter at an airport.

This information comes into the command from our colleagues in air traffic, security and safety as well as organizations like the multi-agency Domestic Events Network and the National Operations Control Center. The JATOC consolidates the information so we can quickly assess the full picture and strategically determine next steps to reconstitute the NAS instead of spending time piecing together disparate inputs.

Having these key players collaborating under one roof on the operations floor at the Air Traffic Control System Command Center in Virginia makes coordination and communication more effective and swift.

Another important outcome of this effort to establish a full command and control center is it has required employees from each of our service units to consider incidents more holistically. For example, when a “Water Ski” plane landed with visible smoke and fire at Denver on Tuesday, we received one report with consolidated details about the runway closure, the deplaning of the uninjured passengers on the runway, and the perceived damage to the runway. Those interdependent elements might have been dispersed in several different reports in the past had our team seen the incident through their own lens of whether it was a safety event, a security event or a technical event.

Now that we have the JATOC in place, we’re also evaluating ways to improve the way information can help us formulate response, recovery and contingency planning, and to build better tools.

We’re conducting exercises with airlines and other partners to make sure all of our stakeholders understand how they can contribute to effective reporting and more importantly response activities to any event that may impact the NAS.

Planning ahead and communicating fully so we can be optimally equipped to make decisions is a lesson we can all learn from the work the JATOC is doing.

Don’t forget to tune in to the NAS First, People Always annual awards ceremony at 1 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday, August 1!

Thanks everyone!


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