European ATM Master Plan Edition 2 - The Roadmap for Sustainable Air Traffic Management

25 October 2012

This Edition 2 of the European Master Plan has been updated with SESAR’s first developments European Union.



What is the European ATM Master Plan?

Within the Single European Sky (SES) initiative, the European ATM Master Plan (Master Plan) is the agreed roadmap driving the modernisation of the Air Traffic Management system and connecting SESAR1 research and development with deployment. It is the key tool for SESAR deployment, providing the basis for timely, coordinated and efficient deployment of new technologies and procedures.

The first edition of the European ATM Master Plan was endorsed on 30 March 2009 and adopted on 12 June 2009 by the SESAR Joint Undertaking (SJU) which is responsible through EU Council Regulation for the maintenance of the Master Plan.

This 2012 edition of the Master Plan embeds major updates which mark a clear distinction compared with the initial document:

  • it takes benefit of the first results achieved by the SESAR Programme to prioritise a set of essential changes that either provides significant performance benefits and/or forms a pre‑requisite towards the implementation of the target concept;
  • it prepares for the SESAR deployment phase, developing stakeholder roadmaps which provide a temporal view (up to 2030) of the ATM Technology Changes required and updating the Business View, providing a basis for timely and synchronised deployments;
  • it promotes and ensures interoperability at global level, in particular in the context of ICAO.

Performance View

What are the performance needs and targets?

Air traffic has not evolved in line with the forecast underpinning the 1st edition of the Master Plan.

Although there are still considerable uncertainties regarding the near future, the consensus economic forecasts are for a resumption of near-trend growth in the medium-term and it is on this basis that the Master Plan is developed.

The proposed SES strategic performance objectives presented in this document provide a practical expression of the SES high-level political goals, in terms of measurable Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), and are based on the best current estimation of traffic growth. The SES performance-driven approach focuses on the four Key Performance Areas (KPAs) of environment, cost-efficiency, safety, and capacity/quality of service.

SESAR contributes to meeting these SES strategic performance objectives and drives R&D activities towards the achievement of a set of validation targets.

Deployment View

What is required to be deployed to achieve performance needs and targets?

The transition towards the target Operational Concept follows three complementary Steps. Step 1, Time-based Operations is the focus of the current Master Plan and progresses through Step 2, Trajectory-based Operations to Step 3, Performance-based Operations. Step 1 starts  from the Deployment Baseline consisting of operational and technical solutions that have successfully completed the R&D phase and have been implemented or are being implemented.

As shown in the figure, the Master Plan identifies essential operational changes for Step 1 which should establish the foundations for the subsequent steps while responding to the performance needs. These changes are grouped in 6 Key Features that describe the main strategic orientations and are the means to deliver performance to achieve the performance goals. The civil-military dimension is an integral part of these operational changes.

How and when will it be deployed?

The operational changes are enabled through improvements to technical systems, procedures, human factors and institutional changes supported by standardisation and regulation.

The human element remains pivotal to the success of SESAR, and in ensuring that SESAR delivers the benefits expected in environment, cost efficiency, safety, and capacity. The SESAR concept of operations will drive changes to the procedures being used by all stakeholders, and in particular will start to modify responsibilities between technology, controllers and flight crew. This needs to be supported by relevant regulatory changes.

The Master Plan includes roadmaps of the identified changes per stakeholder group ensuring that their deployment is planned in a performance-driven and synchronised way (e.g. between ground and air deployments) to maximise the benefits achieved.

Business View

What are the costs and the benefits?

The SESAR programme is a key contributor to the achievement of the Single European Transport Area2 and enables smart economic growth for Europe.SESAR will provide an effective remedy to air transport capacity bottlenecks, fills gaps in the air traffic management system, enables significant reduction of CO2 emissions, increases safety, and reduces overall costs. SESAR benefits all European stakeholders and extends beyond the air transport industry.

The Business View is a high-level view, which does not replace the need for dedicated stakeholder business cases and cost benefit analyses. Mature solutions, supported by business cases containing a clear quantification of the deployment performance expectations will be the outcome of validation. Pending the validation of the assumed benefits, the approach has been to consider the monetisation of the performance validation targets as a first indication of potential benefits.

Investments required to implement the changes described in the Master Plan for all 3 Steps have been estimated to be between 23 and 32 Bn€ for civil stakeholders for the period 2014-2030. These include investments for the Deployment Baseline, Step 1 and Step 2.

While estimates of the investment required in the shorter term (Deployment Baseline and Step 1) have been recently updated, the costs for Step 2 correspond to estimates provided during the Definition phase. The investment cost for Step 2 will be reviewed once the technologies  and functions supporting this step mature. No further cost assessments have been performed by the Military, earlier estimated to reach 7 Bn€. For Scheduled Airlines, taking into account the investments required for Step 1, SESAR is estimated to create a direct net positive impact of at least 5 Bn€ in the 2014-2030 period provided timely and synchronised deployment is achieved. To this value it is necessary to add other benefits such as those from delay avoidance and flight cancellation savings. In addition, the Deployment Baseline and Step 1 will establish the basis on which Steps 2 & 3 will be deployed and thus bring further benefits.

The investment figures should be taken with caution as underlying figures had a very high variance, in particular for Airport Operators and Regional Airlines. They may not be applicable to all subcategories of stakeholders. In addition, whereas for airborne investments, up-to-date cost estimates from manufacturing industry were available for the ANSP investments this was not the case. There is a need for more detailed  analysis of the cost of SESAR to ANSPs and of its integration in ANSP investment cycles. Cost inputs from the manufacturing ground industry will be important for this analysis.

The time lag between the upfront SESAR investments by the different stakeholders and the full realisation of benefits will present a risk to SESAR deployment. The risk is to create a lastmover advantage whereby each stakeholder would wait until all others have proceeded with SESAR investments. This should be addressed through the effective implementation of SESAR deployment governance and incentive mechanisms.

This second edition of the European ATM Master Plan outlines the essential operational changes and technological changes that are required to contribute to achieving the SES performance objectives, preparing the Master Plan to become a key tool for SESAR deployment and  providing the basis for timely and coordinated deployment of the efficient technologies and procedures.

The Master Plan provides the best actualised view on the products, technologies and operational procedures, which can be further industrialised and deployed in order to satisfy the needs of the European citizens.

Edition 2 of the European ATM Master Plan - October 2012