Scarce resources management

The Network Manager also manages the allocation of scarce resources:

  • Transponder Code Function
  • Radio Frequency Functions

In order to ensure that European aviation’s existing operations remain viable and that future growth in traffic can be accommodated, scarce resources have to be carefully managed and efficiently distributed.

The Transponder Code Function and its associated services support the unambiguous identification of flights for ATS provision, so underpinning SSR code availability and providing enough capacity for Aircraft Identification.

Frequency management and its associated services for the European ATM network are seen as critical activities. EUROCONTROL already carries out these generic network management functions and monitors some operational frequencies (VHF) and radio usage behaviours. It also delivers ATS Messaging (AMC) services.

Transponder Code Function (TCF)

Transponder code management and its associated services are provided in accordance with the SES regulatory framework, international obligations and high-level agreements between the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), European Union and the Agency.

The management of transponder codes is a specific service carried out on behalf of ICAO. The work is driven, and supported by, the ACID (aircraft identification) and Network Management Function Implementing Rules, as well as by ICAO and EU agreements for non-EU States.

The Transponder Code Function (TCF) will continue to be managed by EUROCONTROL until at least 2019 (end of the Network Manager designation's second reference period).

TCF provides ORCAM (Originating Region Code Assignment Method) support to all ICAO EUR Region States on behalf of the ICAO EUR/NAT Paris Office, as agreed under the Memorandum of Cooperation between EUROCONTROL and ICAO.

TCF also covers the operational requirements for the Centralised Code Assignment and Management System (CCAMS), monitoring and reporting tools as well as corresponding developments. It also supports deployment actions in transitioning to the use of downlinked aircraft identification throughout European airspace by 2020, as required by the Aircraft Identification Regulation (1206/2011).

Mode S Interrogator Code Allocation (MICA)

We coordinate the allocation of scarce resource Mode S Interrogator Codes as stipulated by the Mode S Interrogator Code Regulation, the NMF Regulation and agreements with ICAO for the EUR Region.

Radio Frequency Function

EC Regulation No 677-2011 Annex II defines the role of the Network Manager for the Radio Frequency Function (RFF). Together with ICAO, States, ANSPs and airspace users, we will implement a frequencies coordination mechanism to be used by Air Traffic Management (ATM) systems in Europe (mainly to support Communication Navigation and Surveillance - CNS - applications) via the National Frequency Managers (NFM).

All this will help minimise the impact of aviation spectrum shortage on the network by defining and implementing new frequency coordination procedures in close conjunction with the NFM and ICAO, assessing the efficiency of the spectrum usage in the network and analysing the potential disruptions (interferences for instance) that could affect the network.

To meet these objectives at minimum cost, new shared automated tools will have to be developed and aligned with the new CDM procedure and ICAO regulation.

The activities include:

  • the continuation of the current Frequency services carried out in conjunction with ICAO
  • the definition and implementation of a new CDM procedure.
  • the enhancement of current tools (mainly SAFIRE and MANIF) to implement the level of automation required to meet the objectives.
  • the assessment of impact of route design on VHF frequencies.
  • the support to the NFM to identify suitable frequencies and to resolve interference cases.
  • the monitoring and the evaluation of the use of aviation frequencies to ensure fair cooperation and maximise the use of aviation spectrum for the benefit of the network as a whole.