A vision of the future Network

Europe is moving towards a new kind of ATM network. It will be built around the needs of the aircraft operator, providing a safe and cost-effective framework for aircraft operators to fly the routes they want with the Network Manager providing them with sufficient capacity in the air and on the ground to carry out their plans. It will require a new generation of Network Manager technologies. Cooperative Traffic Management will incorporate a range of ATFM concepts such as short-term ATFM measures, identifying target times, improving predictability and flight plan adherence. It will mean integrating all the current separate systems so that they interconnect and work with the outside world via a single gate with a single technology.

At its core are two simple concepts: give airlines the freedom to plan and fly the routes they want and exploit new automated technologies such as data link to be able to predict with greater accuracy where an aircraft will be at any point in its journey. By 2022, for example, free route airspace procedures will be in place throughout Europe in traffic areas of low to medium complexity.

This will mean airspace planners and airports will be able to manage the predicted traffic loads in a far more accurate way than they can now. After 20 years of stripping flow management out of air traffic control, demand and capacity balancing will be entirely integrated.

The key to improving Network Management performance is predictability. 4D trajectories will become a reality in the next five years. Today, an aircraft has a departure time with a slot window of 15 minutes; in the next few years, if current research programmes are successful, this will gradually reduce to plus or minus three minutes. In parallel, the Network Manager is developing business-to-business connections between ATC, airlines, and airports that will enable data sharing in a much more seamless way. Future systems will have to deliver more capacity and more safety using 4D trajectory cooperative traffic management and the SESAR Joint Undertaking, Deployment Manager and Network Manager are working on collaborating to deploy validated solutions in support of this.

A new global information network will have to be created, for data to flow between ATC centres on the ground and eventually between ATC centres and the aircraft itself. The implementation of system-wide information management (SWIM) will be a key enabler, giving levels of highly precise predictability of aircraft positioning. It will enable direct ATM business benefits to be generated by assuring the provision of commonly understood quality information, delivered to the right people at the right time.

Given the transversal nature of SWIM - which is to go across all ATM systems, data domains, and business trajectory phases (planning, execution, post-execution) and the wide range of ATM stakeholders - it is not expected that one solution and certainly not one single technology will fit all. Nevertheless, it is recognised that global interoperability and standardisation are essential and SWIM is expected to be an important driver for new and updated standards. SWIM will be based on Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) and open and standard mainstream technologies.

EUROCONTROL Experimental Centre

Our research and development activities are contributing to shaping the future European air traffic management system.

Centre du Bois des Bordes CS 41 005
91222 Les Bordes
+33 1 69 88 75 00