Improved data sharing will unlock european airspace efficiencies

01.01.2014.- The way vital flight data is shared across European boundaries is to be improved after a proposal by a leading alliance of European Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) won significant funding from the European Commission.

The A6 Alliance, which includes some of the main ANSPs in Europe, has secured funding to lead the Flight Data Processing Interoperability project (FDP IOP), which aims to help improve Air Traffic Management (ATM) performance across Europe. 

FDP platforms are key to providing a safe and efficient service to airspace users. They provide a complete real-time picture of air traffic with accurate prediction of upcoming events, enabling controllers to plan flight paths further in advance.

The A6 Alliance project, which will be 50% funded by the European Commission’s Trans-European Transport Networks (TEN-T) programme with additional funding from individual ANSPs, will accelerate the development and implementation of advanced Flight Data Processing (FDP) capability across Europe, supporting the vision of a Single European Sky.

Richard Deakin, Chief Executive of NATS and Chair of the A6 Alliance Steering Board, said: “The A6 Alliance is working hard, together, to find ways to help drive the improvement of ATM performance in Europe. This project will develop software that can then be rolled out across Europe as part of SESAR deployment. It is an excellent example of voluntary collaboration between ANSPs driving deployment of technologies and concepts developed under SESAR in order to improve ATM performance across Europe.”

The project will build on existing conceptual work undertaken by the Single European Sky ATM Research Joint Undertaking (SESAR JU). However, it will take that work to the next level to deliver tried and tested, interoperable software components that will enable information to be shared far more easily than today between Europe’s ANSPs. Improving the way flight information is shared across European boundaries will help air traffic controllers to provide more direct routes and will result in fewer route alterations, so reducing fuel costs and carbon emissions. Work will begin immediately with a view to the technology being available for deployment through SESAR following successful testing at the end of 2015.

The A6 alliance is formed of the six ANSP members of the SESAR JU – Aena (Spain), DFS (Germany), DSNA (France), ENAV (Italy), NATS (UK) and NORACON – a consortium including Austro Control (Austria), AVINOR (Norway), EANS (Estonia), Finavia (Finland), IAA (Ireland), LFV (Sweden) and Naviair (Denmark). Collectively the A6 Alliance members control over 70% of European air traffic and 72% of the investment in the European Air Traffic Management infrastructure of the future. The A6 ANSPs are full members of SESAR JU.  Their role is to create synergies between the ANSP members of the SESAR JU to maximise customer and network benefits and to provide leadership at a European level in critical technical and strategic areas.Five of Europe’s nine Functional Airspace Blocks (FABs) – the geographic pillar of SES - are also represented within the A6.  While the FABs are primarily focused on operational performance improvement, the A6 is focused on SESAR development and deployment, SESAR deployment execution (planning, governance, funding), and key strategic areas of A6 common interest related to transport and aviation legislation, industry stakeholders.

DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH, the German air navigation service provider, is a State-owned company under private law and has about 6,000 employees. DFS ensures the safe and punctual flow of air traffic over Germany. Around 2,000 air traffic controllers guide up to 10,000 flights in German airspace every day, and about three million movements every year. This makes Germany the country with the highest traffic volume in Europe. The company operates control centres in Langen, Bremen, Karlsruhe and Munich as well as 16 control towers at international airports in Germany. In addition, DFS is represented at the EUROCONTROL Control Centre in Maastricht, the Netherlands. Additional business units are Aeronautical Solutions (Consulting) and Aeronautical Information Management.