What is ATS on Airbus A320? (Auto Thrust System)

The Auto Thrust System (ATS) plays a crucial role in the operation of the Airbus A320 aircraft. As an integral part of the aircraft’s flight control system, the ATS automates and assists the pilots in managing engine thrust during different flight phases. This advanced technology enhances safety, reduces pilot workload, and contributes to the overall efficiency of the aircraft.

How Does the Auto Thrust System Work?

The Auto Thrust System on the Airbus A320 utilizes various sensors, actuators, and computing systems to constantly monitor and adjust engine thrust according to the flight parameters. The system receives inputs from numerous sources, including the aircraft’s flight management computer (FMC), auto flight system, and external sensors such as the air data computer (ADC) and angle of attack sensors.

Using this information, the Auto Thrust System calculates the appropriate engine thrust setting required for a particular phase of flight. It then sends commands to the engine control system, adjusting the thrust levers automatically or providing recommendations to the pilots for manual adjustment.

The ATS actively engages during takeoff, climb, descent, approach, and landing phases, ensuring that the engines deliver the necessary power and efficiency. It takes into account factors such as aircraft weight, speed, altitude, configuration, and performance requirements to optimize engine performance and maintain the desired flight envelope.

The Benefits and Features of the Auto Thrust System

The Auto Thrust System offers several key benefits and features that positively impact the overall operation of the Airbus A320 aircraft. Let’s take a closer look at some of them:

The Automation Advantage

One of the significant advantages of the Auto Thrust System is its ability to automate thrust management. By continuously monitoring the flight parameters and adjusting engine thrust accordingly, the ATS reduces pilot workload and allows them to focus on other critical tasks.

During takeoff, for example, the system ensures that the engines deliver the required power for a safe and efficient departure. It manages engine thrust during climb, maintaining the desired climb rate and optimizing fuel consumption. Similarly, during descent and approach, the ATS adjusts the thrust to maintain the proper speed, altitude, and descent profile.

Enhanced Safety and Performance

The Auto Thrust System significantly contributes to the safety and performance of the Airbus A320 aircraft. By continuously monitoring the flight parameters and adjusting engine thrust, it helps prevent overspeed or stall conditions, ensuring the aircraft operates within the safe flight envelope.

The system also assists in maintaining optimum engine performance, thus improving fuel efficiency and reducing emissions. It takes into account various factors such as speed, altitude, and configuration to ensure the engines produce the appropriate thrust levels that meet the required performance criteria.

Efficient Engine Management

The Auto Thrust System optimizes engine management on the Airbus A320, promoting efficient operation and extended engine life. By automatically adjusting the thrust to the appropriate levels based on the flight phase and conditions, it helps reduce wear and tear on the engines, resulting in lower maintenance costs.

Furthermore, the system contributes to better fuel economy by minimizing unnecessary fuel consumption. Its ability to calculate and provide the most efficient thrust settings based on real-time flight parameters ensures that the engines operate at their peak performance, leading to fuel savings and reduced environmental impact.


The Auto Thrust System (ATS) is an essential component of the Airbus A320 aircraft, providing automated and assisted thrust management capabilities. This technology enhances safety, reduces pilot workload, and improves overall aircraft performance and efficiency. By constantly monitoring and adjusting engine thrust based on flight parameters, the ATS ensures the engines operate within the desired flight envelope, optimizing performance and fuel efficiency.

The Auto Thrust System is just one of the many advanced technologies that make the Airbus A320 a state-of-the-art aircraft, trusted by airlines worldwide. Its automation advantages, safety enhancements, and engine management capabilities make it a reliable and efficient choice in the aviation industry.

For More: What is TOGW on Airbus A320? (Takeoff Gross Weight)