Air traffic control providers to manage Belgian airspace with one single system

- Brussels, Belgium.

skeyes, Belgian Defence and EUROCONTROL’s Maastricht Upper Area Control Centre (MUAC) intend to use the same system for Air Traffic Management as from 2024. With one single technical solution, services to airspace users in Belgian airspace will be much more efficient. Today, the three parties signed a Letter of Intent to make headway with this objective.

skeyes and Belgian Defence expressed the joint ambition to provide integrated civil-military Air Navigation Services in Belgian airspace by 2030, with high reliability and efficiency. From its air traffic control centre located at Maastricht, EUROCONTROL MUAC already provides seamless, integrated civil-military Air Navigation Services in the upper airspace of the Benelux countries and north-west Germany.

skeyes CEO Johan Decyper, EUROCONTROL Director General Eamonn Brennan, Director of EUROCONTROL MUAC John Santurbano and Ann D'hondt from Belgian Defence
 skeyes CEO Johan Decyper, EUROCONTROL Director General Eamonn Brennan, Director of EUROCONTROL MUAC John Santurbano and Ann D'hondt from Belgian Defence

A Shared civil-military Air Traffic Management System (SAS) would support this objective and would be a strong enabler to cope with capacity and cost-efficiency challenges in Belgian airspace. It would also support the deployment of an efficient and effective external contingency solution in the event of a failure of one of the facilities providing technical services.

Currently, the three organisations controlling Belgian airspace – skeyes, Belgian Defence and EUROCONTROL MUAC – use different Air Traffic Management systems. Enhanced cooperation on services will be enabled through the convergence of the systems.

In 2019, Belgian Defence will replace its Air Traffic Management system by a Shared Air Traffic Management System (SAS2) - the same as EUROCONTROL MUAC’s. In a second phase, skeyes intends to replace its Air Traffic Management System by a Shared Air Traffic Management System (SAS3) solution. This would result in a single system used by all three parties providing Air Navigation Services in Belgian airspace. In order to meet this objective, the three parties will carry out a joint study for a possible future implementation of an SAS3 solution. 

Johan Decuyper, CEO of skeyes: “We have already taken important steps in the integration of civil and military air traffic control management. By the end of 2019, the military air traffic control centre will move to the skeyes facility in Steenokkerzeel. A shared Air Traffic Management System for skeyes, Belgian Defence and EUROCONTROL MUAC will be the next step towards enhanced integration of service provision, with significant benefits for our customers in terms of safety, capacity, efficiency and reliability.”
Major General Frédéric Goetynck, Chief of the Division Communications and Infrastructure, and Major General Frederik Vansina, Air Component Commander, from Belgian Defense: “We can only confirm these advantages. Having the three air navigation service providers in the Belgian airspace working on the same system will  also ensure a smoother coordination and communication which will benefit the flight safety.”
John Santurbano, Director of EUROCONTROL MUAC concluded: “Data Services is the solution for addressing Air Traffic Management system fragmentation across Europe. In the past, EUROCONTROL MUAC successfully implemented similar solutions for military partners. We are now ready and keen to embark on a similar challenge with one of our key civil partners in the core area of Europe. A Shared Air Traffic Management System will be essential to improving the current cost-efficiency and capacity challenges.”
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