Implementing information sharing and enhancing operational performance

CADENA – the CANSO ATFM Data Exchange Network for the Americas – is an initiative to promote and facilitate the safe and efficient movement of air traffic in the Latin America and Caribbean region through effective implementation of air traffic flow management (ATFM) and collaborative decision-making (CDM). These processes and procedures facilitate data sharing and promote a common situational awareness that is vital to the safe, efficient, and harmonised flow of air traffic.

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How it works

CADENA members hold weekly ATFM planning web-conferences following CDM processes among regional ANSPs and stakeholders. Items openly discussed and shared among CADENA members, airlines and airports, include weather, staffing, combined sectors, equipment outages, traffic management measures (TMM), and airport configuration.

CADENA also operates the CADENA Operational Information System (OIS). This is an online platform to exchange information including ATFM Daily Plans (which document expected demand), planned traffic management measures, constraints, volcanic ash plumes, special events, and runway closures. The OIS also archives implemented TMMs which allows facilitates operational analysis and performance improvement plans.

The CADENA Regional Implementation Group (RIG), the body responsible for the governance, rules, and procedures for executing CADENA, has created the CADENA Air Traffic Flow Management Procedures Manual. This is freely accessible to all CADENA members and helps to effectively guide and improve day-to-day operations and longer term strategy.

Who is involved

The CADENA ANSP partners are:

  • ANSA (Aruba)
  • Colombia CAA
  • Costa Rica CAA

  • DC-ANSP (Curacao)
  • EANA (Argentina)
  • Ecuador CAA
  • ECNA (Cuba)
  • FAA  (DCC, ZMA, SJU, ZNY, ZHU, FAA Space Operations Office – United States)
  • IDAC (Dominican Republic
  • INAC (Venezuela)
  • JCAA (Jamaica)
  • MWCR
  • OFNAC (Haiti)
  • SENEAM (Mexico)
  • TTCAA (Trinidad and Tobago)

The CADENA airline, stakeholder and international organisation partners are:

  • Airports Council International (ACI) Latin America and Caribbean
  • Latin American and Caribbean Air Transport Association (ALTA)
  • International Air Transport Association (IATA)
  • ICAO (NACC and SAM)
  • Caribbean Aviation Resilience and Recovery Group (CARRG)
  • Aerolineas Argentinas
  • Aeroméxico
  • Air Canada
  • American Airlines
  • Atlas Air
  • Avianca Airlines
  • Azul Brazilian Airlines
  • Caribbean Airlines

  • COPA
  • Delta
  • FedEx
  • Jet Blue
  • MESA Airlines
  • Spirit Airlines
  • United Airlines
  • UPS
  • West Jet
  • Airports Council International (ACI-LAC)
  • International Air Transport Association (IATA)
  • National Business Association (NBAA)
  • International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) regional offices (NACC and SAM)

All regional ANSPs and airline stakeholders are welcome to participate.

CADENA in practice

CADENA members are trained in the process of conducting regional hurricane web conferences to inform CADENA members and stakeholders of potential impact. This process was put into practice on 20 June 2017, when tropical storm Bret moved over Trinidad and Tobago. This system provided the airline community with advanced notification of which airports would be impacted as the storm progressed along its track, and enabled them to adjust operations and secure air transport movements accordingly.

Since its initiation in, CADENA started working with the varying capability and readiness levels that were needed to implement ATFM and CDM. The CADENA Regional Implementation Group (RIG) worked together to incrementally and straightforwardly promote CDM, ATFM, and a harmonised system to share information and vital operational data.  Over time, CADENA has proven to be valuable to its participants and has made significant advances.

At the request of CADENA participants (ANSPs and airlines), the CADENA Operational Information System (OIS) web platform, that was initially launched on August 28, 2017, has undergone several upgrades.  Some of the enhancements include: 

  • Airport arrival and delay information
  • Standard template to enter Planned Airways System Alternative (PASA) route requests
  • The ability for ANSPs and airlines to save and re-use PASA route request submissions
  • Airline homepage
  • Email push notification of important operational entries
  • Additional chat enabling communications with a single ANSP or airline. 

The OIS enables common situational awareness and allows regional ANSPs to exchange information, including ATFM Daily Plans, expected demand, planned and implemented traffic management measures, constraints, weather and geological issues, special events, and runway closures – all of which improve operational planning and collaborative decision-making.  The CADENA OIS home page can be accessed by the public at

Accomplishments by CADENA participants include the development and use of the CADENA Procedures Manual, CADENA ANSP Contingency Forms (14 forms and procedures addressing natural disaster situations to policy and technology issues), and the Letter of Agreement from Flow Management Unit (FMU) to FMU, Space Launch and Recovery Protocols LoA, the PASA routes, Quarterly Operational Contingency Training Exercises.

Other examples: CADENA participants took advantage of this established collaborative approach, and American Airlines activated the CADENA PASA route protocol, requesting a Vaccine Priority Flight with callsign AA957 from Miami (KMIA) to Santiago de Chile (SCEL). The dispatcher included “Vaccine Priority Flight” in Field 18 when filing the flight plan through an agreed procedure. It meant that before AA957 departed from Miami, the air navigation service providers (ANSP) on the route of flight, including Miami, Cuba, Jamaica, Panamá, Colombia, Ecuador, Perú, and Chile, along with American Airlines, CANSO, and IATA, received the request and acknowledged the high priority mission. The ANSPs coordinated an optimum route through their respective flight information region (FIR) and notified air traffic controllers and supervisors who prioritised AA957, ensuring a smooth and efficient journey.

During Hurricane Delta, an airline participant activated the PASA routes protocol and its push email notification, and within 30 minutes, the impacted ANSP had approved the airline’s route requests. The affected airline was issued the contingency route, allowing the flight to bypass the hurricane with a safe and viable choice to destination, saving time and money. At the same time, the ANSPs were provided with advanced notification of the change in their overflight demand.

As of June 30, 2021, CADENA has held 237 weekly ATFM/CDM operational planning web conferences, 10 contingencies ad-hoc CDM web conferences, four Space Launch and Recovery – ATM CDM web conferences. 

In September 2021, the GREPECAS (ICAO Air Navigation regional group) annual meeting received a full briefing about CADENA’s achievements since it was launched. You can see the slides from that briefing here.

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