Flight planning

The Network Manager Operations Centre receives, processes and distributes up to 35,000 flight plans a day. This concerns over 500 European airports and airfields.

Process

  • For every flight in European skies, any pilot intending to depart from, arrive at or overfly one of the 42 countries which form part of the EUROCONTROL operations area must submit a flight plan.  This flight plan which contains detailed flight intentions must be sent to the Network Manager Operations Centre.
  • We check the detailed flight intentions against the airspace structure with the help of the Integrated Initial Flight Plan Processing System (IFPS).
  • We analyse the compatibility of requests before the flight plan can be accepted. In about 9% of cases, inconsistencies need to be resolved via manual interventions.
  • We suggest alternative routes.
  • We send a copy of every accepted flight plan to all local air traffic control centres in Europe overflown by that particular flight.

Further activities aim at improving the flight plan filing process, by performing controls in a “flight plan gateway” mode. For instance:

  • We undertake call sign similarity (CSS) checks and help airlines de-conflict similar call signs embedded in their flight schedules, therefore contributing to safety - CSS service.
  • We ensure that the operator has not been blacklisted from flying in European airspace - SAFA Safety List Alarming Function.

Benefits

  • A centralised flight plan processing service for all States within the Network Operations area with the objective of rationalising reception, validation, acceptance and distribution of Repetitive Flight Plan (RPL) and Filed Flight Plan (FPL) data.
  • Provision of flight data which enable ATFM planning, monitoring and slot allocation as required in the European ATFM concept.
  • Assurance of flight plan consistency across Europe and management of its repository.

Service continuity

We operate through two units working in shift to ensure a 24/7 service. They are located at two different sites (Brussels and Paris) to guarantee business continuity in the event of a disaster.

The contingency plan of the Network Manager Operations Centre can be consulted on the NOP Portal and the Network Management website. See the NM contingency arrangements