10 Apr Working on complex ATM performance

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The aim of the Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) programme is to modernise European ATM. With a very highly complex airspace, Switzerland’s ANSP skyguide is an active SESAR partner, collaborating on multiple projects. To70’s Swiss office has been providing validation and verification support for two of those projects and the initial analyses are promising.

Air traffic controllers have given very positive feedback on the new potential FRA traffic connections

The SESAR programme

SESAR was launched in 2004 as the technological research pillar of the European Commission’s Single European Sky framework for ATM. The first SESAR programme (SESAR 1, 2008-2016) included over 400 projects to define, develop and validate potential solutions and saw the deployment of over 90 prototypes and more than 60 new or improved solutions toward the modernisation of European ATM.

The programme’s second wave, SESAR 2020 (2016-2024), builds on those developments as well as researching new ideas, concepts and technologies. It focuses on airport operations, network operations, air traffic management services and technology enablers, working together with EUROCONTROL, industry partners and various ANSPs, including skyguide.

ATM in complex airspace

Switzerland has one of the most challenging and complex airspaces in Europe. This is due to high traffic density and the combination of horizontal crossings and the vertical profiles of the controlled flights. More than 1/3 of the flights skyguide manages are descending to or climbing from airports in Switzerland or the neighbouring countries of France, Germany and Italy.

Amongst the various SESAR projects that skyguide is involved in, there are currently two solution projects for advanced air traffic management services where To70 Switzerland is providing specialised expertise in verification and validation techniques: Trajectory-based free routing (PJ06 ToBeFREE) and 4D trajectory management (PJ18 4DTM).

PJ.06-01 Introducing Free Routing in High and Very High Complexity Airspace

The SESAR solution for Europe-wide free route airspace (FRA) was released (#33) under the first wave of projects. Building on that solution, the purpose of this project is to validate the impact on ATM and airspace users of extending FRA into very high complexity airspace (such as Switzerland’s) by using modelling and real-time simulations. The goal is to provide evidence FRA can be implemented in a cost-effective manner throughout the Single European Sky airspace.

PJ.18-02a Trajectory-Based Operations

PJ18 is a second-wave solution project that would allow more efficiency in air traffic management by shifting away from tactical intervention and toward enhanced operational procedures that utilise air/ground information exchanges.

The aim of the PJ.18-02 project, which is led by EUROCONTROL with representatives from multiple ANSPs and industry partners, aims to demonstrate the potential benefits for en-route and in complex airspace. The information exchanges would allow the use of complex clearances and clearances in advance based on aircraft EPP information and the use of 4D operations (pdf) in business aircraft.

Verification and validation

For PJ06 ToBeFREE, To70 Switzerland worked with the skyguide project team in developing a suitable simulation platform and traffic scenarios based on EUROCONTROL data. The results of the simulations performed in February 2019 are currently being analysed. The skyguide air traffic controllers have given very positive feedback on the new potential FRA traffic connections. During an Open Day planned for late May, the skyguide platform will also be connected to the ENAV (Italian ANSP) platform to test traffic scenarios for cross-border FRA trajectories.

To70 Switzerland assisted on the PJ18 4DTM project by developing and refining traffic scenarios and validating the simulation platform, including both ATCO and simulator pilot interfaces. Simulations for this project are planned for late 2019. If successful, this solution would enhance predictability, safety and security, as well as reducing fuel consumption and emissions.


About To70. 
To70 is one of the world’s leading aviation consultancies, founded in the Netherlands with offices in Europe, Australia, Asia, and Latin America. To70 believes that society’s growing demand for transport and mobility can be met in a safe, efficient, environmentally friendly and economically viable manner. To achieve this, policy and business decisions have to be based on objective information. With our diverse team of specialists and generalists to70 provides pragmatic solutions and expert advice, based on high-quality data-driven analyses. For more information, please refer to www.to70.com.Most of us would assume the summer vacation period is simply too busy for Schiphol to close an important runway. However, it is also the period with the highest probability of calm weather and, therefore, less risk of unexpected additional restrictions.

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Ignacio Agui
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Ignacio Agüi is an aerospace engineer from the Technical University of Madrid and a Master in Aviation and Air Traffic Management from ENAC Toulouse. He has 3.5 years of professional experience in ATM consulting and joined To70 Switzerland in August 2018 at the Geneva office. His expertise is focused on ATM operations, airspace management and project management.
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