Celebrating a half century of innovation at our Experimental Centre

18 September 2017

On 14 September 2017, an event took place in Brétigny-sur-Orge to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the EUROCONTROL Experimental Centre, in the presence of EUROCONTROL's Director General, Mr Frank Brenner, the Director DSNA France, Mr Maurice Georges, the Executive Director of the SESAR Joint Undertaking, Mr Florian Guillermet, the Head of the Experimental Centre, Mr Pierre Andribet, and EUROCONTROL’s next Director General, Eamonn Brennan.

Officially inaugurated on 17 January 1967, the Centre has from the very beginning been an incubator of air traffic management (ATM) concepts and technologies. Its expertise and longstanding cooperation with the wider ATM community, on a European and global level, has made it a valuable asset in helping aviation turn research into reality.

Today, the EUROCONTROL Experimental Centre plays a unique role in the provision of ATM simulation and validation services and platforms. It is also the biggest single contributor to the European Commission’s Single European Sky ATM Research programme, SESAR.

For the occasion, the Centre opened its doors to its simulation and validation platforms, featuring a series of demos which showcased the broad spectrum and diversity of its work geared towards making aviation safer, cheaper and more environmentally friendly.

Photos from the event are available on our dedicated album:

EUROCONTROL's Experimental Centre turns 50

Frank Brenner officially opened the event with a welcome speech in which he highlighted the Centre’s pivotal role in leading research, development and validation in European ATM. He stressed the considerable expertise which the Centre has accumulated over the years in the field of simulations, and praised the youthful spirit and can-do attitude which have always characterised the staff of the Experimental Centre. He concluded: “I have every confidence that the Centre will continue to handle all the challenges that confront it with the high degree of excellence and expertise that we have come to expect”.

Maurice Georges explained how much the work done by the Centre is appreciated. The Centre’s ability to deliver specific innovative solutions, he said, is key to addressing ATM problems, especially on a multinational level. He talked about how the Experimental Centre had significantly contributed to the optimisation of the airspace over France, with the introduction of several initiatives.

The work performed by the EEC staff is recognised worldwide and today represents a very significant contribution to SESAR”, continued Florian Guillermet. “The future of aviation looks bright and I believe we have the power to shape it. With “Experimental” in its name, I have no doubt that the EUROCONTROL Brétigny Centre will continue to be an engine for excellence in European aviation research, inventing the system of tomorrow”, Florian concluded.

Pierre Andribet explained how the Centre had from the very beginning focused on delivering specific solutions to the challenges faced by European ATM. Its expertise and long-standing cooperation with the wider ATM community on a European and global level have made it a valuable asset in helping aviation turn research into reality. He paid tribute to those who built it up and made it what it is today and had a special mention for the four directors who steered the Centre on its path of innovation. Pierre extended his special thanks to the staff: “Without their permanent efforts over all these years, the Centre would never have achieved fifty years of success. Each staff member is responsible for the uniqueness, the richness of this Centre”.

Learn more about the Centre’s achievements and read the full speeches delivered at the event on our dedicated website.