1,400 engineers involved already in the modernisation of European sky

Nine months after programme kick-off already 1,400 engineers at the SESAR member organisations took up the challenge and initiated 75% of the almost 300 projects equalling to €1.9 billion worth in contributions.
Considering the number of projects and actors involved, SESAR is one of the most ambitious and most innovative research and development projects ever launched by the European Union. SESAR is the technological pillar of the European Unions Single European Sky legislative package. Given the complexity of the programme, since it includes the coordination of a wide range of actors, the European Union created a single management entity: the SESAR Joint Undertaking (SJU). Co-founded by Eurocontrol and the European Commission, the SJU is a public-private partnership in which 15 industry members perform the work necessary for the modernisation of the Air Traffic Management (ATM) in Europe. In his opening speech at ATC Global, the largest international ATM/ATC Exhibition & Conference, Patrick KY, Executive Director of the SJU, started with a strong statement: The mindset of SESAR is crystal clear. We work with a distinct implementation goal in mind, in the short, medium and long term. For this reason end-users of the SESAR systems need to be involved in all the steps of the programme. Thanks to the 15 SESAR members and Eurocontrol, there is a large coverage of the skills on technical level within the programme. The SJU decided to go beyond its members and search for other types of actors, which, even if they do not perform directly ATM tasks themselves, have to be involved in the work programme like experts from airlines and air space users. The sum of these expertises makes SESAR a unique platform where the know-how of every single air transport actor in Europe is used to reform the ATM system.
The SJU is involving major airlines, business & general aviation and the main users associations to assure their specific advice and input. So far, 77 airline experts reviewed 120 projects assessing whether SESAR technologies and procedures are in line with their needs and expectations. Similarly, five major staff associations representing pilots, air traffic controllers and assistants, handling staff, flight and air traffic safety electronics engineers enrich the programme by providing operational technical knowledge and expertise. 200 people from those communities are already directly involved in the SESAR programme. Their input will also be widely taken into account in the validation of new technologies and procedures.
In total, about 1,400 engineers and experts at the SESAR member organisations located in 17 European countries are participating in SESAR and have initiated 75% of the almost 300 projects. The average SESAR project directly correlates with five other projects, has a life-cycle of four years and a budget of € 7 million. The main work in 2010 will evolve around information management the development of information models and of first software prototypes allowing flight data exchange between the aircraft information management systems and airports. Further, SESAR route assignment and guidance will advance with first mock-ups and cockpit simulators for taxi clearance and data-link routing. It is also planned to start with Advanced Surface Movement Guidance and Control Systems (A-SMGSC) routing and planning validations on two European airports. First quick wins in terms of fuel efficiency and time-savings are already being achieved through green descent and climb approaches, tested under AIRE (Atlantic Interoperability Initiative to Reduce Emissions). The SJU is pushing for greener flights as from now. All SESAR improvements will be demonstrated in operational environments. The main challenge is now to ensure that all these actors deliver fit-for-purpose solutions which can be easily implemented. For this reason, the SJU is working on early benefits which can be delivered in 2010-2011 and start to prepare for the change which will take place in the European Air Traffic Management, Patrick Ky concluded at the SESAR Forum in Amsterdam, the annual update on the programme at ATC Global.
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