FlightAware Discussions

AirlineFlightSchedules not retrieving flights from some airports

Hello, I’m trying to get the flight schedules from these 2 airports:

Martin State Airport (KMTN), Middle River, Maryland, USA
Lee Airport (KANP), Annapolis, Maryland, USA

calling the AirlineFlightSchedules endpoint but it is not retrieving any result.

These are a couple of calls that I’ve tried:



If I change the origin or destination parameter with JFK airport (KJFK) those calls work fine.

And this is the link to flightaware live schedule page where it shows that there are flights scheduled on the KMTN airport:

Could you please let me know if I’m doing something wrong?

Thanks in advance

AirlineFlightSchedules searches advanced schedules from commercial passenger carriers. Since KMTN appears to mostly serve business an general operations it is unlikely that there will be any advanced schedule entries.

If you are looking for information similar to the airport summary page please try the Scheduled endpoint instead. It will return upcoming filed flights.

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What you’re trying to access is global legacy ICAO system called the Aeronautical Fixed Telecommunications Network (AFTN). Flight plans were one of a few core uses that the AFTN was originally built to accommodate. If you are interested in looking at the history of the system, elements of which are still being used in many underdeveloped countries around the world, you’ll find that it was basically a global email network before email was even called electronic mail!

If you are a business aircraft pilot in South Africa, and file a flight plan all the way to Turkey, the AFTN is the mechanism used to forward the flight plan details to every ANSP in every FIR the flight will cross. There every ICAO member state assigns there required civil aviation and ATC facilities with a unique AFTN Address, so discreet messages and information can be send directly to them. Sound familiar?

That said, when first stood up (1940’s or 50’s) the entirety of the AFTN was originally built using long stretches of copper cable, which eventually could reach any address on the planet. If was, and still is where it’s still used, a very analog based system. As the digital revolution spread around the world, the better funded, more developed nation’s decided to up their AFTN game by going digital. The digital follow on to AFTN is called the Air Traffic Services (ATS) Message Handling System (AMHS). Leave it to aviation to create multi level acronyms.

There AMHS provided the same functions as the legacy AFTN, only using digital protocols which didn’t require dedicated copper cables, instead relying on the now global shared network connectivity infrastructure. In order to accommodate those nations unable or unwilling to upgrade to AMHS, the system was designed with multiple analog to digital converter bridges. These allowed the less resourced nations to upgrade even they could. Unlike other technology innovations like ADS-B which offer a significantly low initial investment cost and continued savings moving forward, converting to AMHS wasn’t as appealing.

However, AFTN’s days are numbered. ICAO has mandated that app member nations transition to an IP based equivalent (you know, line AMHS). They may have already begun the phase out in earnest, but I’m no longer plugged into that crowd anymore.

Lastly, all this is great, but doesn’t help you unless we circle back to your core question: How do you get your hands on some of that delicious AMHS flight plan data? The answer won’t be encouraging, but I’m not saying it’s impossible. The first challenge is to do the research to determine what FAA network program the AMHS currently falls under. They seem to rename these things annually, but start with the SWIM program. That was the last program management moniker for sharing any data related to civil aviation with the private sector/ interested citizens. You’ll likely be told that you haven’t demonstrated a need for access to this data, but don’t fret. The FAA is a huge, complex, bloated beast which can be approached in a hundred different ways.

In the mean time, if you Google either AFTN or AMHS, you’ll be drowning in information. As far as FlightAware’s origin for flight plan data, at least as of a couple years ago was based on the correlation with the historic call sign/ flight number flown routes, and not AFTN/AMHS, but that may have changed. That said, the lack of corporate or GA flight plans associated with non-air carrier airports suggests this is still the case.

That’s a lot, but I saw an opportunity to assist. I hope it did.


FlightAware data already includes corporate and General Aviation flight plans that have been published to the FAA network via SWIM. The user’s question involved simply using the incorrect API function, as the API originally referenced is specific to airlines only.

Outstanding to hear, thank you for the correction. Back when I was part of the DoD Thresher program integration, there were still some questions about what pipes you were connected to.

Do you happen to know what percentage of those fight plans are omitted based on the FAA’s latest iteration of the BARR program? Last I was aware, the agency leadership made a decision to put the screws to anyone in to private sector who applied for HEXCODE blocking. They basically put a onus on the applicant to demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that not doing so would cause risks to flight and airfield safety.

Next issue now that I’ve got you! You guys had been fully capable of plotting Mode-3/A/C/S equipped aircraft based on some pretty impressive MLAT algorithms. That said, there was never a decision made to pull the trigger and start plotting those flight tracks as a normal order of business for discrete firehouse feeds or the online open source site. I suspect the 2020 ADS-B mandate did nothing for the effort, however there are still thousands of active aircraft which operate without ADS-B Out equipage, albeit in a largely limited fashion. Either way, did that initiative ever get the push it needed for any type of deployment?

I posted a reply in a thread explaining the role that MLAT plays with the FAA’s real time automated ADS-B data validation process to scrutinize all location data, as well as key not-so-well-known aircraft kinematic data before it is allowed to be integrated with the multiple other legacy surveillance data streams being piped into the system as well. I’m fully cognizant and acknowledge the blatant use of the false equivalency logical fallacy of asking anyone to compare the FAA’s air traffic surveillance data scrutiny of ADS-B data with FlightAware’s scrutiny of data being provided by likely tens of thousands, of not hundreds of thousands of individual network sensors piping you data ever second. BUT, in still curious whether or not FlightAware is either currently or considering integrating any sort of standardized data validation process, irrespective of the FAA’s process?

I talked to your supervisor, Bob, and he said that you’ll provide us with a comprehensive and granular level of detail answer for all my nosey questions before you’re allowed to end your shift. Bob said that, and while that’s some solid customer service skills, I’d hate to work for Bob. If your supervisor’s name is actually Bob, dude, that’s a total win for me! It’s actually a win/win for both of us because her never said that, I don’t know Bob (or anyone there), and I’m a big proponent of “This nonsense can wait to be dealt with tomorrow, I have Netflix to watch. Computer… OFF I’m out”. So if that’s your plan, have at it. Plus, make the new guy, or one of the interns deal with the overly needy forum post guy who openly scorns brevity at every level. You go home, your first correction was enough sense of accomplishment for the rest of the week!

Oh, and again, thank you very much for correcting my erroneous/ outdated information. I loathe being inaccurate or wrong about details that I believe are and present as absolute truths. It’s not anything related to an ego/ shame driven loathing. It’s more of a sense of disappointment that someone might have read it and not questioned the legitimacy. So when people like you step in and without being a narcissistic douchebag, just make sure the erroneous details are corrected. I get excited when it happens, and then posts like this happen, so GOOD JOB!! :joy::joy::rofl:

Aircraft operators participating in the BARR/LADD program can choose to either: block transmission to all downstream SWIM consumers, or to allow transmission to those downstream SWIM consumers with the expectation that they perform access control. I don’t have any percentages of program participation off the top of my head. The FAA is responsible for the approval criteria for those programs.

FlightAware already does MLAT of Mode-S aircraft, although having a flightplan greatly improves tracking fidelity. FlightAware doesn’t currently plan to include MLAT of Mode-3/A/C aircraft because of the resultant low position fidelity and because it’s not possible to obtain an aircraft identifier/registration (only squawk code, which alone is not enough for us to associate with a specific aircraft for tracking). ADS-B is the future and is increasingly being adopted by most nations and represents an increasingly dominant percentage of flight traffic.

This thread is increasingly drifting from the original author’s question and away from specifics of our API…

Thanks for the answers, I agree with your last point, and shall make a solid effort moving forward to pull out discussion topics and questions unrelated to that of the OP and create their own threads. I don’t even realize I’m hijacking a thread while I’m actually doing it. I’m a unabashed life-long aviation nerd, and as you probably have realized, I rock the art of highly charged and unorganized streaming flow of conciousness. I have never done well at forums, and other than the hijacking of threads and willfull disregard for any form or consideration of brevity, I’m not sure why. I think I come off as a narcissist or something, which is a personality characteristic I have patience for. Not hijacking, pressing Blue Button!! PRESS THE BLUE BU…