For a flight to operate in (depart from, arrive at, or fly over) the EUROCONTROL area of operations the pilot is required to submit a flight plan with detailed flight intentions to the Network Manager Operations Centre (NMOC). Flight plans from aircraft operators (AOs) are received by the NMOC, which validates, corrects (if necessary), and distributes them to the air navigation service providers (ANSPs) and operational partners concerned.
To ensure efficient flight plan management at European level, a centralised flight plan processing and distribution function is operated by the NMOC. This service is supported by the Integrated Initial Flight Plan Processing System (IFPS) - a central system which collects initial flight plans, processes the related messages and distributes them to ANSPs including the flight plan pre-validation service provided by the IFPS Validation System (IFPUV). It covers that part of the ICAO EUR Region known as the IFPS Zone (IFPZ) and is supported by fully redundant infrastructure and disaster recovery mechanisms.
Regional centralising flight plan management contributes substantially to improving both the consistency and predictability of flight demand information. It simplifies operations, improves flight efficiency and reduces overall transactional costs for both ANSPs and airspace users.
Various interfaces are available to access the FPL filing and management service and to interface with the Integrated Initial Flight Plan Processing System (IFPS). This can be done through AFTN/SITA, the Network Operations Portal or through the IP/VPN connections for accessing the Network Manager Business-to-business (NM B2B) web services.
The service is only available to organisations which are actively engaged in ATM operations or in the operation of aircraft and related support services. The provision of the service is governed by the service agreement, or letter of agreement signed between EUROCONTROL and the user.