Actual Time of Arrival (ATA) is a travel term used in the aviation and transportation industries. It refers to when a particular vehicle, such as an aircraft, ship, train, or bus, actually arrives at its given destination.
Some more key details about Actual Time of Arrival:
For flights, ATA specifically refers to when the aircraft first makes contact with the arrival gate at the destination airport after the flight.
For sea vessels, trains, etc. it generally refers to when the vehicle comes to a full stop at the designated arrival terminal or station.
ATA can be different than the Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA) which is calculated and shared beforehand by the transportation company. Delays, weather issues, or early arrivals may alter ATA.
Tracking the ATA allows transportation networks, travel operators, and passengers to coordinate timely connections, gauge punctuality, arrange arrivals, adjust staffing, and more based on real-time data.
Arrival boards and travel itineraries usually list both ETA and corresponding ATA for a full picture of planned versus actual arrival times during a journey.
So in summary, a vehicle’s Actual Time of Arrival represents the real, recorded time that it arrived at the scheduled destination in the travel route. Comparing it to estimated times sheds light on realistic arrival patterns.
What Factors Can Influence the Accuracy of the Actual Time of Arrival for a Flight or Shipment?
Several key factors can influence how accurate an Actual Time of Arrival (ATA) is compared to the originally scheduled or Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA) for a flight, shipment, or other transit service:
- Weather issues – Storms, strong winds, poor visibility and other adverse weather can delay takeoffs and landings for flights as well as slow down ships and trucks. This causes arrival delays.
- Mechanical problems – An equipment malfunction or unexpected maintenance with the vehicle can pause or slow progress toward the destination.
- Congestion & traffic – An overloaded airport with too many planes, backlogged cargo terminals that slow offloading, crowded highways diminishing trucking speeds, etc.
- Transportation network disruptions – Temporary closure of airspace, port terminal bottlenecks, rail signal problems or road accidents could force pauses or route changes.
- Security risks & inspections – Areas of increased inspection like customs checks or security threats that require a safety hold can lengthen transit time.
- Human error – Inaccurate ETA forecasting calculations, last-minute flight plan adjustments, driver taking suboptimal route could all influence arrival time.
To maximize arrival time accuracy, transportation scheduling systems factor these risks in when predicting ETAs and build sufficient buffers into the process. But fluctuating external variables mean actual times may still end up differing from what’s estimated or published on schedules.