From research to deployment: a big step forward for airspace users
A new enhanced slot swapping tool was deployed via the Network Manager (NM) system under the latest release 21.0 at the end of May. The new interface, now available to all European airspace users via the flight list on the protected Network Operations Portal (NOP), will enhance operational flexibility.
This tool was developed by EUROCONTROL in the framework of Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR). Following a live trial in 2014-2015, the enhanced slot swapping process has been made available in stages to certain airspace users under the supervision of the NM Aircraft Operators Group (NM-AOG). Over the last two years, the joint teams from Research & SESAR and NM provided continuous support to airspace users to ensure smooth functioning of the prototype and to enable them to have full control of the process.
The swapping of air traffic flow management (ATFM) slots has helped significantly reduce delays and disruption. This was possible by decreasing the number of missed transfers and connections whilst providing more stability and resilience to airlines’ daily flight schedules when they were faced with deteriorating conditions.
The enhanced slot swapping process is part of the user-driven prioritisation process (UDPP), which aims to give more flexibility to airspace users in their operations in the event of capacity constraints in the planning phase and in congested en-route and arrival areas. It has extended the rules for swapping flights and also set out a swap identification tool to support the decisions made by airspace users.
To access the protected NOP Portal, users should refer to the step-by-step subscription guide or go directly to the NM Service request form.