A Pragmatic Approach to modernising Europes Air Traffic Management Systems

Europes Single Sky modernisation is taking further shape with the update of the European Air Traffic Management Master Plan. This is the newly agreed strategic plan providing technological and operational roadmaps to all aviation stakeholders.
It allows for timely, coordinated and efficient deployment of new technologies and procedures in the timeframe to 2030. Its content has been aligned with International Civil Aviation Organisations Aviation System Block Upgrades (ASBU), in order to secure global interoperability and synchronisation.

At its core, the Master Plan is performance-driven, responding to the four Key Performance Areas (KPAs) of environment, cost-efficiency, safety and capacity. These criteria, set by the European Commission, form part of the wider set of ICAO KPAs.
First drafted in early 2009, the Master Plan is intended to evolve with time. This 2012 version helps to better achieve the high level goals of Single European Sky (SES), as set by the European Commission. Key features of the new Master Plan are:
The results achieved so far in the R&D programme have helped determine intermediate performance targets feeding into SES High level goals. These revised targets correspond to the contribution of SESAR, one (for technology) of the five SES pillars (the other four are Performance, Safety, Airports and Human factor).
In its first of three change steps, SESAR will contribute to:
  • -2.8% in fuel efficiency
  • -6% in cost efficiency
  • -40% in accident risk per flight hour
  • +27% in airspace capacity
Each stakeholder i.e. airspace users, air navigation service providers, airport operators and the network manager (civil and military included) is provided with a roadmap detailing the type and date of the ATM technology change required in the first step of SESAR. These time-based roadmaps also feature necessary air/ground deployment synchronisation dates.

Furthermore, roadmaps are included for infrastructure (communication, navigation and surveillance), standardisation and regulation. These allow a common European understanding of required changes, in preparation of ICAOs Twelfth Air Navigation Conference (ANC 12).

The Master Plan focuses on a series of operational changes deemed essential to best deliver performance benefits to one or more operating environments, i.e. airport, en-route, terminal manoeuvring area, and the network. This allows stakeholders to focus their efforts on a manageable set of necessary changes to reach the Single European Sky high-level goals.
These essential operational changes are grouped into six key features which will evolve through three steps up to 2030:

  • 1. Moving from Airspace to 4D Trajectory Management;
  • 2. Traffic Synchronisation;
  • 3. Network Collaborative Management and Dynamic/ Capacity Balancing;
  • 4. System Wide Information Management;
  • 5. Airport Integration and Throughput;
  • 6. Conflict Management and Automation.
ICAOs Global Air Navigation Plan will be based on Aviation System Block Upgrades (ASBU), a suite of modules organised into flexible and scalable building blocks where each module represents a specific, well defined improvement.

For the development of the ASBUs, ICAO made use of the material provided by SESAR and the US FAAs NextGen program.
From a SESAR perspective, mapping ICAOs ASBU was key to achieving global interoperability and synchronisation, where and when necessary.

The Master Plan provides the most up-to-date view of the products, technologies and operational procedures to be industrialised and deployed to meet the needs of European citizens.


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