European Commission and INEA visit Network Manager (EUROCONTROL) to monitor progress in financed projects

28 July 2017

Brussels, Belgium – On 4 July 2017, representatives of the European Commission’s Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA), DG MOVE, the European Defence Agency (EDA), the State of Belgium and the SESAR Deployment Manager, visited the Network Manager (EUROCONTROL) to take note of the progress made in a series of implementation projects (linked to the Pilot Common Project –Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 716/2014) which have received financing under the Connecting Europe Facility programme, and are expected to be completed by mid-2017.

Maurizio Castelletti, DG MOVE Head of Single Sky Unit: “We are very keen to participate in these visits in order to assess the level of maturity reached by implementation projects and understand how synchronisation between operational stakeholders was achieved. The feedback we get from these visits will inspire further possible improvement in the deployment phase of SESAR. In this specific case, the visit confirmed the key role that the Network Manager plays at pan-European level by bridging the gap of fragmentation, ensuring cohesiveness of systems and driving the performance of the network.”

Dirk Beckers, Director of INEA: "On-site visits to beneficiaries are very important as they aim to get a reasonable assurance about the progress made in the implementation of the Actions and about the achievements made by the Actions. This visit covered seven EUROCONTROL Implementation Projects that were either already completed or close to be completed, focusing on different ATM functionalities and enabled to get a deeper understanding of EUROCONTROL Implementation Projects within the SESAR Deployment Clusters, of the interactions between different stakeholders and in particular of the key role played by the Network Manager."

Joe Sultana, Director Network Manager: “With the help of INEA and the relevant CEF funding, the Network Manager has been able to implement state-of-the-art technologies which extend and improve services, as well as introducing new ones, for the benefit of all network stakeholders. By digitally transforming our products, we are making a solid contribution to enforcing interoperability in a pragmatic way and to improving Europe’s connectivity. Working collaboratively with all our partners, civil and military, underpins viable, environmentally sustainable solutions for European air traffic management. Together, we are creating a system which is admired and will be emulated the world over.

Massimo Garbini, Managing Director SESAR Deployment Manager: “I am pleased to see the involvement and interest for this visit to a particular stakeholder. The Network Manager plays an important role in the sustainable modernisation story of ATM in Europe and is implementing an impressive number of projects throughout the network. I look forward to continue on the same level of engagement and improve ATM in Europe together.”

Implementation projects presented by the Network Manager

Direct routeings and free route airspace (# 081AF3)

Free route airspace (FRA) allows airspace users to plan a route between defined entry and exit points without referring to the usual route network – subject to airspace availability.

This implementation project was completed on time at the end of June 2017, representing  substantial progress, beyond what was planned, in the implementation of direct routeings and free route airspace across Europe. Thanks to this initiative and the good collaboration between the Network Manager and European air navigation service providers, several millions of nautical miles have not been flown, making for considerable savings in fuel and carbon emissions. By 2020, free route airspace should generate €420 million in fuel savings, as well as eliminating over one and a half million tonnes of CO2.

Airspace management (ASM) / advanced flexible use of airspace (AFUA) implementation and support (# 080AF3)

This implementation project has improved the coordination of airspace management between civil and military users which is essential to achieve flight efficiency across European skies, both at network and local/FAB levels. Coordination with the military authorities has been essential in this project and has been a key contributor to free route airspace operations.

The project focuses on the implementation of improved airspace management and air traffic flow management (ASM/ATFCM) processes, and on advanced flexible use of airspace (AFUA). It combines operational procedures and technical system support.

The planned improvements relating to ASM and AFUA were completed by June 2017. They included the introduction of a new airspace use plan (AUP) template, enhanced interoperability between the Network Manager’s systems and local airspace management tools, a new ASM booklet and initial management of real-time airspace data. This has led to improved civil-military coordination of airspace utilisation, which will be further optimised over the next five years.

This project will be finalised by December 2018, when the improvement and deployment of PRISMIL, a EUROCONTROL civil-military performance monitoring system, is planned for completion. PRISMIL provides a single source of comprehensive, integrated information on civil/military utilisation of shared airspace.

AMAN extended to en-route (# 083AF3)

Extended arrival management extends the sequencing of traffic arriving at an airport away from the airport and into en-route airspace, resulting in optimised traffic flows. The Network Manager’s support in this area covers the network needs and the provision of the required flight data.

This project was completed at the end of June with the publication of the Concept of Operations for Network Manager Support to Advanced Arrival Management, and the modifications of the Network Manager’s systems based on requirements from ANSPs which are operating extended arrival management. As such, this project provides a basis for further enhancements.

STAMs – short-term ATFCM measures (#078AF4)

STAMs are used to smooth sector workloads by focusing measures such as short-term application of minor ground delays, flight level capping or re-routing on a limited number of flights in order to reduce the complexity of anticipated traffic peaks. The forecast of traffic peaks is based primarily on the analysis of sectors’ entry and the more accurate occupancy counts.

STAMs are based on a cooperative approach: the local flow management position proposes the targeted flights and the measures to be applied. This is then coordinated with the Network Manager and airspace users by sharing information and assessing the local and network impact of the solutions.

This project has seen the initial deployment of STAM processes based on sector occupancy count analysis and has consolidated the STAM package for harmonised implementation of the measures across Europe, including the mandatory air traffic flow and capacity management technique called “cherry-picking” to manage short periods of congestion.

The Network Manager has also prepared phase 2 of the project, which involves the enhancement of STAM processes and systems, and is expected to be completed by December 2017. It will see the adaptation of NM systems in order to support an initial enhancement, referred to as “basic coordination”, which will bring improved demand and capacity balancing and reduced delays.

Trajectory accuracy and traffic complexity (#079AF4)

4D-trajectory-based operations is a driving objective in SESAR. They will provide a unique and integrated view of all flights trajectories among the ATM stakeholders (aircraft operators, ANSPs and the Network Manager).

They require the introduction of a four-dimensional flight plan including new trajectory-related information and flight performance data. Processes involving the exchange and reconciliation of this information between the various stakeholders, from the flight planning to the execution phase, will have to be agreed and implemented so as to ensure improved system performance, including pre-flight traffic predictability and resulting complexity assessment.

This implementation project has allowed the Network Manager to implement a first version of an extended flight plan as part of the flight planning acceptance, validation and distribution system. A strategy addressing the convergence between SESAR and other stakeholder developments has also been developed. It will result in the implementation of subsequent evolutions of the Flight Information Exchange Model (FIXM) standard on SWIM and the ICAO ​Flight and Flow Information for a Collaborative Environment (FF-ICE) concept.

The project has also delivered an improved ATFCM scenario management process between the Network Manager and the local flow management positions. This means that the best possible airspace organisation is combined with the optimal ATFCM measures to meet airspace demand, taking into account traffic flows and airport and ATC capabilities, and in particular taking advantage of trajectory improvements. This also provides a solid foundation for the STAM processes, and will be completed by December 2017.

Interactive rolling NOP (# 077AF4)

The aim of this project is to provide a platform to support the development of a comprehensive and accurate plan of the ATM network, which all stakeholders can share and strive to use. The platform will use state‐of‐the-art technologies to create a “virtual operations room” in support of enhanced collaborative network operations.

In June 2017, this implementation project completed its first phase, with the delivery of an initial platform, consisting of an initial set of applications.

Prior to the full migration to the new platform, some new services have also been developed for the legacy interfaces, namely the NOP Portal and the collaboration human-machine interfaces.

SWIM compliance of NM systems (#082AF5)

SWIM is a paradigm evolution in the way data is exchanged within the ATM environment. It allows seamless interoperable data exchanges between ATM systems on the basis of a service-oriented architecture, open standards and the separation of information provision/consumption principle.

With its B2B services, the Network Manager has clearly led the way in the implementation of SWIM in Europe, bringing tangible benefits to stakeholders.

With this implementation project, the Network Manager has continued its work towards full SWIM Yellow Profile compliance, with the introduction of publish/subscribe technologies and the deployment of services based on these technologies, allowing event-driven dissemination of flight, flow and airspace information.

This implementation project also included the development of additional web services in the flight and flow domains, such as flight planning using the Flight Information Exchange Model (FIXM) and services in support of A-CDM data exchanges. This has resulted in the first airport (Nice) to transition from the Aeronautical Fixed Telecommunications Network (AFTN) to SWIM at the end of 2016, for higher quality and more secure data exchanges.

For further information, please contact:

SESAR Deployment Manager:
Cliff Van Craen

EUROCONTROL Network Manager:
Kyla Evans