Point Merge: improving and harmonising arrival operations
Point Merge is a systemised method for sequencing arrival flows developed by the EUROCONTROL Experimental Centre in 2006.
Point Merge is now operational in Oslo (2011) and three Norwegian regional airports (2014), Dublin (2012), Seoul (2012), Paris ACC (2013), Kuala Lumpur (2014), Lagos (2014), Canary Islands (2014), Hannover (2014), Leipzig (2015) and London City and Biggin Hill (2016).
Point Merge is one of the ICAO Aviation System Block Upgrades and is referenced as a technique to support continuous descent operations (doc 9931).
Techniques for sequencing arrival traffic
Different techniques for sequencing arrival traffic at airports were simulated at the EUROCONTROL Experimental Centre in 2015. The simulations were conducted in cooperation with the French provider DSNA as part of SESAR work programme.
The simulations compared the technique used currently (vectoring onto ILS, full open loop) against two new ones: the hybrid version (final segment connecting to ILS, mix open and closed loop) and advanced version (arcs and final segment connecting to ILS, full closed loop).
The new techniques aim primarily at improving the final part, in particular securing the ILS interception and reducing noise nuisances even under high traffic conditions, as well as optimising descents, reducing workload and communications.
You can watch the simulation video here.
New sequencing techniques at World ATM Congress in Madrid 2016
Operational and validation experts will be present at the EUROCONTROL stand featuring demos on new sequencing techniques studied and implemented in different approach centres - Join us to share and discuss this topic.
Visit our World ATM Congress 2016 website for more information.
Point Merge arrival system for London City and Biggin Hill airports
NATS announced the implementation of its Airspace Change Proposal for the first phase of the London Airspace Management Programme (LAMP). The changes include a Point Merge arrival system for London City and Biggin Hill airports. This is over the sea and will replace conventional routes which are over land.
“Hybrid” version of Point Merge tested in live trials at Paris Orly
A “hybrid” version of Point Merge was tested in live trials at Paris Orly in November. This version was developed to facilitate acceptability and to retain the environmental and safety benefits. It consists of sequencing on a merge point with a combination of vectoring (in case of traffic) followed by direct-to instructions (see video).
Extension of Point Merge to RWY10 at Dublin airport
The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) has extended the Point Merge to Runway 10 at Dublin airport, along with several other new procedures aimed at improving efficiency and accessibility to the runways.
The extension of Point Merge to Runway 10 follows the introduction of the system in December 2012 to Runway 28 at Dublin airport, which has enabled airline operators to achieve significant fuel and environmental benefits as well as a considerable reduction of inbound delays.
Presentations of Point Merge Conference, Oslo
Avinor Air Navigation Services hosted a Point Merge Conference in Oslo on March 3rd and 4th. The conference saw the participation of ANSPs, airport operators, airlines and EUROCONTROL representatives.
Experiences in developing and implementing Point Merge were shared. ANSPs’ presentations given at the conference are available below (please note that you may not reproduce, duplicate, or sell the content of the attached presentations for any purpose or any reason without written consent from the respective author):
Point Merge at Canary Islands
ENAIRE implemented Point Merge procedures at Fuerteventura (GCFV) and Lanzarote (GCRR) airports on 18th September 2014. The Point Merge was chosen as the operational solution to manage traffic to two very close airports.
Point Merge Conference, Oslo
Avinor Air Navigation Services will host a Point Merge Conference in Oslo on March 3rd and 4th. The conference invites the leading ANSPs and airports worldwide to discuss how to design, implement and train for Point Merge, and discuss the future of Point Merge.
Norway extends Point Merge operations at three airports
Avinor Air Navigation Services has implemented the second phase of the Southern Norway Airspace Project (SNAP) using Point Merge arrival sequencing to improve capacity and flight safety. This implementation makes Avinor Air Navigation Services the first in the world to operate multiple airports with this arrival route system.
IATA position on Point Merge
IATA presented a Position paper at ICAO EUR Performance Based Navigation Task Force (9th MEETING) & at EUROCONTROL’s Navigation Steering Group (20th MEETING) in Paris, France, on 17 to 19 September 2014.
"Point Merge is an innovative procedure developed by the EUROCONTROL’s Experimental Centre (EEC) to merge arrival flows of aircraft,(…) it aims at improving and harmonizing arrival operations with existing technology. Point Merge is primarily developed as a tool to facilitate the work for ATC controllers and is considered as a holding procedure.”
London Airspace Consultation report
The London Airspace Consultation was launched in October 2013, as part of LAMP to seek views on changes of the network connections for Gatwick and London City airports, and produced its final report on April 2014. Two areas of the Consultation concerned the Point Merge proposals (section 8 of the report) and Point Merge fuelling policy (section 10).
DSNA deploys Point Merge in Paris ACC
The Paris Area Control Centre has deployed a more efficient air traffic system in high altitude for handling north-west flights of the Paris region to Paris-CDG airport.
Point Merge at Dublin saved airlines €5.5m in 2013
A year on from the introduction in December 2012, the Point Merge at Dublin Air Traffic Control is delivering benefits. An independent analysis conducted by NATS established that, by using Point Merge, airlines landing at Dublin airport in 2013 saved 127kg of fuel, worth €93.10, per flight and reduced their fuel requirement by 19.1%.per flight.
Change is coming for Gatwick and London City
Point Merge for Gatwick and London City airports, with Airspace Consultation in place
Point Merge successfully implemented in Dublin
Since 2006, EUROCONTROL has been at the forefront of Point Merge System’s (PMS*) research and development. PMS is an innovative method using new air traffic management techniques to assist airlines in flying continuous descent operations (CDO), permitting the aircraft to reduce 85kgs per flight on average.
Point Merge at Incheon International airportTo reduce congestion and to improve the aviation safety within terminal airspace, the Republic of Korea adjusted arrival tracks using PBN. With that regard, STARs with point merge technique has been implemented at Incheon International airport since 3 May 2012.
More information on the ICAO working paper presented at the twelfth air navigation conference (Montreal, 19 to 30 November 2012).
Southern Norway Airspace Project (SNAP)
AVINOR, in cooperation with EUROCONTROL, will run a real-time simulation from 3 to 14 December 2012 with the objective to validate the Southern Norway Airspace Concept, including Point Merge implementation for the Westcoast TMA (Stavanger-Sola and Bergen-Flesland airports) and Vaernes TMA (Trondheim airport).
Today’s situation with radar vectoring makes for a heavy controller workload, a great deal of radio communication, diminution of pilot situational awareness, difficulty in predicting and improving vertical profiles and large dispersion at low altitudes.
Point Merge is expected to provide benefits in terms of safety, environment (in approach sectors) and capacity (in terminal sectors), even with high traffic loads.
Depending on the operational and environmental constraints, and on the design choice made, these are the expected benefits:
- simplification of controller tasks, reduction of communications and workload;
- better pilot situational awareness;
- more orderly flows of traffic with a better view of arrival sequences;
- improved containment of flown trajectories after the merge point;
- better trajectory prediction, allowing for improved flight efficiency;
- standardisation of operations and better airspace management.
Point Merge is designed to work in high traffic loads without radar vectoring.
Point Merge is based on a specific P-RNAV route structure, consisting of a point (the merge point) and pre-defined legs (the sequencing legs) equidistant from this point.
The sequencing is achieved with a “direct-to” instruction to the merge point at the appropriate time.
The legs are only used to delay aircraft when necessary (“path stretching”); the length of the legs reflects the required delay absorption capacity.
Documents & videos
- Point Merge Operational Services and Environment Definition (2010)
- Point Merge in Extended Terminal Area (2010)
- Dublin Real-time Simulation (2010)
- Oslo Real-time Simulation (2010)
- Point Merge at ATM R&D Seminar (2007)
- From Airborne Spacing to Point Merge (2006)