Air traffic demand in Turkish airspace exceeded all growth predictions once again in the year 2008. The traffic volume increased by 13,6 % compared to 2007 and the number of controlled traffic reached 1.010.937 , representing an increase of approximately 120.000 flights over the previous year. Although the growth rate is decreasing over the years, it was still high and well above the European average. If we summarize, the evolution of traffic between 2003 and 2008, the traffic increased by 93,5 %. While the international arrivals & departures and the overflights were growing steadily, the major reason for this growth was the increase in the domestic flights. (Domestic flights increased by 150 %, international arrivals & departures increased by 66,2 % and overflights increased by 75 % compared to 2003 and the share of the domestic flights within total flights increased from the least to the biggest.) The charts show the trend in controlled traffic over the years and the breakdown of IFR flights.

According to the EUROCONTROL / STATFOR statistics, Turkey was the most leading country in Europe in 2008 with approximately 60 additional IFR movements per day (excluding overflights), indicating the continuous traffic growth in Turkey.

The increase in the number of controlled flights is expected to continue in the future. Although the traffic is forecasted to decline by approximately 5 % in 2009, to grow slightly (1.5 %) in 2010 and continue to grow with an average at 2.1 % annually for the whole forecast period 2009 - 2015 for Europe as a whole, it is noteworthy that much higher growth is expected for Turkey. The STATFOR medium-term forecast (MTF) predicts an average annual increase between 4.1 % and 7,1 % for Turkey for the forecast period of 2009 - 2015 years, with a baseline growth of 5.9 % and the short-term traffic forecast (STF) predicts a growth of 8.9% in 2009.

It should also be underlined that during the summer season the traffic volume is higher due to tourism activities. As seen in the graph, there was a significant seasonal traffic variation with a peak in August both for Ankara and İstanbul ACCs.





Notwithstanding the great growth in traffic, our ATM system has been able to absorb this increase. İstanbul ACC and İzmir APP achieved zero en-route delay target in 2008, as was the case in Summer 2007. Although the average en-route delay per flight increased from 0,1 to 0,2 minutes in summer 2008 for Ankara ACC, it still remained well below the PC target value of 1 minute and the European average (keeping in mind that the total delay in minutes increased by 10.6 % and rose to 2.3 minutes in Europe as a whole in 2008). Additionally, the final SMART system will enable the Ankara FIR to be en-route delay free by 2010 - 2011.

However, some airports, namely İstanbul / Atatürk, Antalya and Ankara / Esenboğa Airports experienced some delays in 2008. These delays were experienced especially during the transition period of control services from the existing ATC systems to the new ones. As it is known, the new systems were upgraded in the context of the Interim Modernization Project and started to use in the spring 2008. During the transition period, some regulations were applied for safety reasons and the reason for the delays was mainly these regulations. On the other hand, one of the reason for these delays was the significant increase in the traffic, experienced during the summer season However, these delays were also eliminated through common actions agreed between our FMPs and the CFMU.

Considering the growth in traffic and rate of delay, it is assessed that the measures taken to better manage and enhance the capacity led to significant increase in ATM capacity and therefore, the capacity plan was achieved and delays were kept at optimum levels.



DHMİ has taken necessary measures to ensure the system has the capacity and the redundancy to work in a safe and reliable way. In this context, civil / military coordination, communications and surveillance infrastructures were improved, ATC route structure was developed and additional controllers were recruited.

In the meantime, it has been noted that the continuous traffic growth has resulted in the reserve capacity being eroded, meaning that the existing system was no longer capable of economic upgrading to satisfy the extra capacity needs. In the light of this, Turkey has accelerated the SMART (Systematic Modernisation of ATM Resources in Turkey) Project and an early implementation of the interim upgrade of the ATM systems in the existing ACCs and APPs was achieved in 2008. Although, some delays were experienced during the transition period

(transition from the existing ATC systems to the new ones), Interim Modernization will provide extra capacity for the next years.

Turkey has also redesigneted some ATS routes, namely UN 37 (TBN – SARPI), UN 61 (TBN – NOLGA), UM 11 (TBN – REBLO), UN 161 (ERZ – INDUR) and added a segment (between BKZ VOR – EKI VOR) to the ATS route UW 702. By means of these amendments, the ATS route network meets the requirements of both international and domestic airspace users, as well as the specific national and international needs.

Additionally, lower limit of N 644 ATS route (KARDE – ROLIN) was decreased from FL 250 to FL 180 and lower limit of B 734 ATS route (YAVUZ – INDUR) was decreased from FL 160 to FL 140 for operational needs.




Airside capacity assessment and enhancement studies for İstanbul / Atatürk Airport have been finalized together with EUROCONTROL. New theoretical capacity and the bottlenecks have been identified. The bottlenecks have been investigated further and by means of pilot and controller forums, commonly agreed proposals were set and started to be implemented. As part of the awareness campaign, studies to prepare the information brochures for the pilots were completed by the end of August 2008. The second phase was started to identify the results of the studies and capacity gained. For the proposals requiring infrastructural changes, feasibility studies were started and based on the results of the studies, necessary actions will also be taken in the near future. In addition to the airside capacity studies, CDM GAP Analysis studies were also commenced to enhance the productivity of the Airport.

Airport Airside Capacity Enhancement studies were also started for Antalya Airport close cooperation with EUROCONTROL. In this concept, a kick-off meeting was held in Antalya with the participation of representatives from the major airport partners (ATC, Aircraft Operator, Airlines and EUROCONTROL / CFMU) and it was agreed to perform an airport CDM GAP analysis to carry out an ACE exercise including capacity planning in the short to medium term. A more concrete position towards the start of capacity planning analysis will be taken in the course of the ACE exercise. CDM studies started to achieve the common situational awareness. Enhancing decision making processes will lead to achieving maximized operational efficiency and the best use of the available airport infrastructure and resource management.


The total number of ATCOs employed by DHMİ was 844 for 2008. However, this number is still quite insufficient, and if we take into account the increasing need for air traffic controllers as a result of the system modernizations and significant growth in traffic, the increase in the number of air traffic controllers still falls short of the need. Therefore, the primary aim of DHMİ for the next years will be to systematically overcome and minimize the controller shortage in current and in the future.

DHMİ proved itself able to keep the shortages controllable and prevent bottlenecks in air traffic handling owing to the great commitment and motivation. Additionally, some administrative measures have been taken to remedy the controller shortfall, so 50 new staffs were recruited as student air traffic controllers. According to our recruitment programme, it was planned to employ at least 70 additional ATCOs each year for all ATC units, by giving priority to Ankara, İstanbul, İzmir and Antalya ATC units; and to increase the number of ATCOs to required by the SMART Project. However, due to the adaptation training of ATCOs to the new ATC systems within SMART, Interim Modernization Project, we could not reach our target in the year 2008.


We consider training to be the investment for the future. Once again this year, despite the heavy workload, DHMİ kept up this principle and managed to ensure high-quality training for all of its trainees.

At DHMİ Training Centre, located in Esenboğa Airport, 57 “ab-initio” trainees completed the basic ATC training successfully in the year 2008. Basic ATC training for 6 trainees from Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) was also started at the Centre.




In addition to the basic training, radar refresher training was also performed for 35 ATCOs at the Training Centre.

Moreover, 75 ATCOs participated to ATM related courses at IANS (Eurocontrol Institude of Air Navigation Services in Luxembourg) in order to increase their knowledge in 2008.
There is also a vigorous and continuous refreshment training plan covering the present and future needs of ATCOs.
Therefore, we can say that a significant success were achieved as a result of all these training activities.
However, the most important part of the training for the year 2008 was the adaptation training of all ATCOs in Ankara ACC/APP, İstanbul ACC/APP, Adnan Menderes ACC/APP, Antalya APP and Dalaman APP for the new ATC systems which was given gradually in the context of SMART Interim Modernization Project. In relation to new ATC systems, theoretical and practical training were completed to achieve a safe and easy transition to the new system and environment as well as new procedures regarding ATC. The training was realized by means of Computer Based Training, theoretical lectures, practical simulator training and on-site training on the upgraded systems.

The modernization project for the Air Traffic Control Simulator System continued also in 2008. The software of the Simulator System was renewed to stepped up the training capacity. The tests have already been commenced for the acceptance of the simulator.




To comply with the ICAO language proficiency requirements and ensure that all the ATCOs have the proficiency in English at operational level 4 as a minimum, DHMİ has completed sending all of air traffic controllers to UK for Aviation English Courses according to the contract signed between DHMİ and MLS International College.
Courses began in February 2006 and ATCOs sent to Bournemouth, England in groups according to a prepared time schedule that takes into consideration operational needs. 300 ATCOs completed their training in 2006, 331 ATCOs completed their training in 2007 and 45 ATCOs completed their training in 2008. As a result, 676 ATCOs have been trained in England between 2006 and 2008 according to ICAO Language Proficiency requirements.

To meet ICAO language proficiency requirements in English for operational ATCOs, EUROCONTROL has developed English Language Proficiency for Aeronautical Communication (ELPAC) test. Four air traffic control personnel from DHMİ have participated the ELPAC workshop and been accredited as ELPAC testing personnel. DHMi testing room is ready to conduct testing and the ELPAC testing will start soon.

Also, online English language training has been started as a trial to ensure that all Air Traffic Controllers maintain their English language proficiency level.




System Modernization
By means of interim upgrade of the systems, safety nets (e.g. Short Term Conflict Alert and so on) and other controller support tools (MONA) were achieved together with the new generation radar data processing and distribution, flight data processing and distribution, system monitoring and control, new generation HMI, recording / replay, data analysis and enhanced coordination.

Together with the modernization of the current air traffic control infrastructure at Esenboğa, Atatürk, A.Menderes, Antalya and Dalaman Airports; radar displays were installed at Bodrum (as well as FDPS data), Trabzon, Van, Erzurum, Erzincan, Adana, Gaziantep APP/TWR units. OLDI connection were established between İstanbul ACC and Sofia ACC and, works for the finalizing the OLDI connections with Athens, Simferopol, Rostov, Teheran, Tbilisi and Damascus ACCs are still going on in the scope of the Interim Upgrade Project.

Also, the full implementation of the SMART project (including a Centralized-Turkish ACC in Ankara) will be completed by the end of the summer 2010. Together with the system modernization, the airspace structure will be further modified through the implementation of the SMART Project. The new centralised ACC to be built in Ankara will provide control services for all en-route traffic above FL 235. The other ACCs (Istanbul and Izmir) will provide only approach services. Area Proximity Warning, Minimum Safe Altitude Warning and Medium Term Conflict Alert will also be implemented by the realization of SMART system.

Although contingency procedures are available, it will be updated in parallel with the implementation of the SMART system.

No doubt that, all these technological and structural improvements will further increase the safety level.

Safety Legislation / Regulation
New regulations in compliance with ESARR 5.1 (for ATCOs), ESARR 5.2 (for ATSEPs) and ESARR2 have been enacted and promulgated in the Official Gazette in 2007. DHMİ and DGCA have prepared draft texts for the remaining ESARRs and they are expected to be submitted to the parliament for the ratification in the near future. However, since the existing regulations are sufficiently similar to the ESARRs, it is expected that all safety objectives are successfully achieved until the full adoption of ESARRs to Turkish legislation is completed.




The DHMİ document regarding Safety Management System Instructions for ATS was published in 2007 in accordance with ICAO Annex 11, Doc 4444, EUROCONTROL ESARR3 and ESARR4, and put into force in 2008.

DHMİ Safety Commission which is responsible for all ATM Safety issues has been established in relation with the Safety Management System. Generic Safety Management Manual guidelines were being used for updating Local Guidelines for SMS and QMS adapted to Turkish requirements. The formation of DHMİ Safety Commission enabled the reinforcement and application of Safety Management procedures.


Safety-Related Human Resources in ATM
Continuous training activities and staff recruitment continued during 2008. New ATCOs were recruited and undergone ab-initio training in DHMİ Training Centre in Esenboğa, Ankara. Refreshment training of air traffic controllers was realized in the form of seminars. Assessment of the correct use of the standard ICAO phraseology and read back procedures was performed regularly. The adaptation training of all ATCOs in related to ATC Units (Ankara, İstanbul, Adnan Menderes, Antalya and Dalaman) for the new ATC systems was also performed in the context of Interim Modernization Project by means of Computer Based Trainings, theoretical lectures, practical simulator training and on-site training to achieve a safe and easy transition to the new system and environment.

Runway Safety
Local Runway Safety Teams have been formed in all airports and a reporting and dissemination structure to DHMİ and to the DGCA has been formed. Airport related personnel are kept fully aware of all runway incursion matters. Suitable training in line with EUROCONTROL Action Plan for the Prevention of Runway Incursions and Airport Runway Incident (APRI) Guidelines has already been prepared. Local Runway Safety Teams have also been carrying out training and awareness campaigns in accordance with ICAO Runway Safety Toolkit in all aerodromes.





Incident Investigation
Although reporting is mandatory, voluntary reporting is also encouraged as the best practice. Individuals are not prosecuted except in cases of willful or criminal negligence. It is therefore considered that there exists “Just Culture” in ATC. Incidents are reported either by pilots or ATCOs (through the local management) or sometimes by both to the DHMİ Headquarter.

Upon reception of reports by DHMİ an investigation team is formed for each incident so as to investigate the incident, determine the causal factor(s) and propose necessary measures to avoid the repetition of such incidents in the future (e.g. training, new procedures, etc.). The results of the investigations are reported to DGCA by official letters. This procedure is realized according to directive SHY 65-02 “Reporting and Assessment of ATM Related Safety Occurrences” which was aligned with the EC directives on reporting and investigations of civil aviation incidents, namely directives 94/56/EC and 2003/42/EC.

Accidents undergo a similar process, except that a commission is established by DGCA to carry out the necessary investigation. This commission consists of experts from Civil Aviation Authority, Civil and Military Air Navigation Service Providers, Airlines and any other related organizations depending to the area of expertise needed.

The causes of occurrences are analyzed so as to identify the possible areas that should and could be improved and for which safety recommendations, interventions and corrective actions are developed to reduce the risk incurred as the target aim being the prevention of their repetition. All appropriate safety data are collected and stored.

In 2008, a total of 123 incident reports have been investigated and 44 of which were classified as ATM related.



International Cooperation

Turkey has always given great importance to International Cooperation and to develop its relations with other countries and associations. In this respect, DHMİ has continued its participation to all relevant international fora, placing particular emphasis on ICAO, EUROCONTROL and CANSO activities.

Turkey, as an integral part of the European ATM network and a candidate country for the accession to the European Union, is actively aligning, wherever possible, its national aviation legislation and aviation environment with the SES policy. Regarding the harmonization to the acquis communautaire, DHMİ continued to work with Turkish Civil Aviation Authority and the General Secretary for EU Affairs to review the existing aviation legislations and decide on the necessary steps that should be taken.




Civil- Military Cooperation

Turkish military side also plays a major role in the management of Turkish Airspace. Civil and Military Air Traffic Control services are seperate in Turkey. However, an efficient coordination between the military authorities and DHMİ is ensured through the Civil-Military Coordination Group. This Coordination Group is also responsible for the policy making and the airspace management at national level.

Although Flexible Use of Airspace (FUA) concept of EUROCONTROL has not been applied in Turkey, Turkish Air Force and DHMİ have developed their own alternative and practical flexible use of airspace concept, considering the special geo-political position of Turkey. The Turkish Military, through their alternative FUA concept has shown much flexibility in relinquishing unused military airspace to the DHMİ when no military traffic is foreseen (evenings, weekends, etc.).


Regional Cooperation

Turkey spends great and constructive efforts to further develop its relations with its neighbours and adjacent regions on the basis of its peaceful foreign policy objectives which is based on Atatürk's principle of “Peace at home, peace in the world”.

It is also considered that, collaborating as closely as we can with our neighbouring civil air navigation service providers has a paramount importance in order to optimise the airspace design and management and increase the regional capacity, safety and quality. Therefore, Turkey undertake initiatives and spends efforts to ensure the application of same concepts, standarts and projects under the EUROCONTROL umbrella.

As known, Turkey has also taken on responsibility of some transition tasks in the area and arranging air traffic flow to / from Europe.