Our contribution to SESAR 2020

Putting airspace users’ needs at the centre of network performance

Fourteen million flights are expected in 2035 in Europe alone, so delivering better performance is essential if we are to maintain the smooth flow of air traffic. The ambitious SESAR 2020 programme plays a major role in achieving this goal.

As a co-founder of the SESAR Joint Undertaking, fully supporting the Single European Sky, we have recently renewed our involvement in the programme.  

The system needs to be more automated and more interoperable, sure – but it also needs to be developed around the needs of the airspace user and not the service provider and that shift hasn’t happened yet”, says Joe Sultana, Director Network Manager.

Building on the experiences of SESAR 1, SESAR 2020 will put the aircraft operator at the centre of the European ATM system. This will be achieved by strengthening the integration of airport, ATC and airline operation systems, and the Wing operations centre (for military users).

Of the 25 grant agreements signed by the SESAR Joint Undertaking on behalf of the European Commission in autumn 2016, we are participating in 24 projects and are leading the eight projects which are dedicated to pan-European network performance. In addition, we provide unique simulation capabilities for all projects, and active support to academia and research organisations for exploratory research.

As an independent, neutral pan-European technical ATM organisation, EUROCONTROL has a vital role to play in improving network performance and ensuring interoperability of new generation systems and procedures at European and worldwide levels”, says Pierre Andribet, Head of Research and Development and SESAR Contribution Division at EUROCONTROL.

When it comes to researching, implementing and supporting new pan-European ATM technologies and procedures, we are in a unique position to provide both top-down and bottom-up levels of expertise to the SESAR 2020 programme.


Projects led by EUROCONTROL


Increased Runway & Airport Throughput (PJ02 EARTH)    

The Increased Runway & Airport Throughput project focuses on separation and procedures to improve runway and airport throughput ,considering wake-vortex, weather, the environment and noise while taking into account different levels of traffic demand, future aircraft capabilities and airport configurations.

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Optimised Airspace User Operations (PJ07 OAUO)

The SESAR 2020 Optimised Airspace User Operations project (OAUO) addresses both civil and military airspace users (AUs) by further improving their processes and tools in relation to their interaction with ATM Network Operations. At the heart of this is an improved collaborative decision-making (CDM) process which takes into account the evolving business needs of AUs.

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Advanced Airspace Management (PJ08 AAM)    

The SESAR 2020 Advanced Airspace Management (ASM) project focuses on dynamic airspace configurations (DACs) and dynamic mobile areas (DMA). DACs/DMAs allow flexible solutions which can be dynamically adapted to traffic demand so as to respond to different regional/local performance objectives, which may vary according to time and place.

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Advanced DCB (PJ09 DCB)

The SESAR 2020 Advanced Demand Capacity Balance (DCB) project links the existing DCB process to a powerful distributed network management function which takes full advantage of the SESAR layered collaborative planning, trajectory management principles and SWIM technology to improve the effectiveness of ATM resource planning and the network performance of the ATM system in Europe.

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Enhanced Safety Nets for En-Route & TMA Operations (PJ11 CAPITO)  

 The SESAR 2020 Enhanced Air and Ground Safety Nets project will anticipate the ATM developments needed to safely handle increasing traffic demand in order to maintain, and – if possible – improve safety levels. It will also support the safe integration of new airspace users, such as remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) into ATM.

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Content Integration (PJ19 CI)

The SESAR 2020 Content Integration project will generate a consolidated big picture of the future European ATM System – the SESAR 2020 Concept of Operations, the high-level architecture options, services and associated performance results. It will therefore provide steering guidance, principles and frameworks to support and facilitate the production and integration of the content produced by SESAR2020 solution and enabling projects.

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Master Plan Maintenance (PJ20 AMPLE)

The Master Plan Maintenance project (PJ20) sets out to monitor, maintain, and align the three levels of the ATM Master Plan (executive, planning and implementation) and its associated portal. Maintenance is driven by developments in the field of European ATM performance as well as by SESAR solutions research results and project deployment. PJ20 has a broad range of ATM representatives to oversee this maintenance.

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Network Collaborative Management (VLD 24 NCM)

The Network Collaborative Management project is a trust-building exercise designed to demonstrate the maturity of the integrated network and local concept elements, including the interactions between all ATM actors. It will pave the way for SESAR deployment activities and the implementation of the future performance-driven ATM environment in Europe.

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The challenges facing SESAR research leaders continue to evolve in a wide number of areas.

Many hub airports are saturated and innovative solutions will need to be explored to increase capacity on the runway and wider apron area, and in the terminal airspace area.

At the same time, the environmental impact of aviation in and around airports will need to be reduced and the quality of service to airspace users improved, with more fuel-efficient procedures and predictable operations.

Regional airports also need support and more cost-efficient ATM services must be developed at these vital facilities, for example with the advent of remote tower services.

The economic pressure on airlines will mean that all ATM actors will have to improve their cost efficiency. New business models will be required to deliver more affordable ATM services, with common service provision to reach economies of scale comparable with those in North America, and virtualisation of services which already exist in the IT domain. This paradigm change requires SESAR2020 to explore new architectures which will evolve from the current monolithic systems to more open and modular architecture.

Providing a secure, safe information network will require new cyber tools with secure encryption keys for the various stakeholders.

At the same time, the use of drones in civil airspace will require a vast library of safety cases based on many different operational scenarios.

EUROCONTROL is fundamental to addressing all these challenges.