NEST modelling tool

A single simulation tool for network capacity planning and airspace design – resulting from the merge of SAAM and NEVAC

NEST is a scenario-based modelling tool used by the EUROCONTROL Network Manager and the Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) for:

  • designing and developing the airspace structure,
  • planning the capacity and performing related post operations analyses,
  • organising the traffic flows in the ATFCM strategic phase,
  • preparing scenarios to support fast and real-time simulations,
  • and for ad-hoc studies at local and network level.

 NEST is used to optimise the available resources and improve performance at network level.

Read more on network planning tools

Read the NEST factsheet


NEST is a stand-alone desktop application which combines the powerful airspace design capabilities of SAAM with the capacity analysis functionalities and user-friendliness of NEVAC.

NEST offers an intuitive, planner-orientated interface with a low barrier to entry for new users. It is a powerful scenario-based modelling engine, capable of running a broad range of complex, operationally relevant analyses and optimisation functionalities.

NEST can be used locally by Area Control Centres (ACC) or airports and also globally for strategic planning at network level. NEST can process and consolidate large quantities of data spanning multiple years, but also allows the user to drill down into the detail and analyse and observe 10-minute periods of data.

A specific training and support package is also provided to NEST users.

Technical functions


NEST is scenario based: users can make changes to the original dataset or reference scenario to model an unlimited number of different operational planning options. Future projects can be selected and combined as required using the layer system.

Default datasets for NEST
NEST uses datasets describing the consolidated pan-European airspace and route network, the traffic demand and distribution as well as the STATFOR traffic forecasts which are provided by EUROCONTROL at the end of each AIRAC cycle.

All this data can be downloaded from the Demand Data Repository (DDR) web site (after subscription).

Simulation Algorithms

  • Future traffic samples
  • 4D traffic distribution
  • Configuration optimiser
  • Regulation builder
  • Delay simulation


  • Queries
  • Charts
  • Performance indicators
  • Reports
  • Analysis tools

 Visualisation and presentations

NEST provides a suite of data visualisation features including tables, charts and fully integrated capabilities for creating 2D/3D presentations and 4D time-based animations. A “real 3D” stereo mode is also provided for use with stereoscopic technologies (polarised screen and glasses).

Customised movies can be recorded, including titles, labels, bitmaps, airspace, traffic pictures, time-based animations and the result can be displayed or recorded in a standard “avi” movie.

Import and Export

Scenario data can be exported as a single excel file or multiple text files: any change applied to these files with external editors can be easily imported back into the current scenario. Alternatively, changes can be made to an individual scenario by importing data directly from another scenario, allowing changes to be copied onto new datasets as they become available. Data can be exported in a range of formats for external simulators such as RAMS and IPAS.

Addressed User Needs

  • Assess the capacity of my ACC
  • Assess the benefits in terms of capacity of measures I’m implementing in my ACC
  • Simulate temporary capacity reductions and their impact
  • Optimise my opening scheme based on my local constraints
  • Simulate traffic growth in my sectors
  • Identify capacity bottlenecks
  • Calculate ACC capacity baselines
  • Generate future traffic samples
  • Optimise ACC configuration opening schemes, balancing controller hours with capacity overloads and related delays
  • Compare planning scenarios using built-in ATFM simulation capabilities
  • Study airspace reorganisation options using virtual ACCs
  • Visualise load distribution, saturation, complexity and traffic mix analysis
  • Simulate degraded operational scenarios at reduced capacity
  • Browse and edit all environment and traffic data
  • Capture groups of flights by defining detailed custom traffic flows
  • Run simulation of network effects


NEST delivers the following results:

  • Simulation of Europe-wide airspace structures for any AIRAC date (past and future)
  • Assessment of individual airspace design projects (cost/benefit analysis, environmental impact)
  • Definition of Flight 4D trajectories
  • Support to FABs strategic planning
  • Support to Flight Efficiency
  • Optimisation of ACC capacity
  • Assessment of capacity benefits from measures implemented in ACCs
  • Delay simulations
  • Optimisation of opening schemes
  • Simulation of future traffic growth
  • Identification of capacity bottlenecks

The format of these outputs may be: charts, GIS map prints, 3D movies and presentations

Access conditions

Upon Subscription product:

  1. Access EUROCONTROL One Sky Online (Extranet)
  2. Select "Subscribe for online services" and select DDR2. You will be prompted to accept the licence agreement
  3. The request will be processed by EUROCONTROL DNM/OPL and access (including level of access) might be granted.
  4. Access DDR2 home page and select "Tools Download" tab
  5. Select NEST, download the package and install it.
  6. All details on the registration procedure can be found here

Eurocontrol reserves the right to grant, limit or disable access to DDR2, data and tools.

For further support, contact or

Further info and contacts

Read the NEST factsheet

For further information please the airspace design team at:

or Mr Razvan Bucuroiu
Manager - Network Operations Management, Head of Operational Performance Planning