Airbus has delivered the first *FANS-C equipped A320 aircraft to easyJet. In the frame of Europe’s SESAR Air Traffic Management (ATM) research programme, this aircraft – and others to follow – will take part in the Airbus-led project: “Demonstration of air traffic management improvements Generated by 4D Initial Trajectory Information Sharing” (DIGITS) which will demonstrate the sharing of an aircraft's predicted trajectory data with air traffic control (ATC).
FANS-C technology will enable airlines to optimise their aircraft’s trajectories and make traffic flows more fluid and aircraft speed easier to manage, which will help them to save fuel and reduce noise. In particular, the sharing of predicted trajectories with ATC controllers will enable smooth aircraft sequencing on approach and in the “Terminal Maneuvering Area”.
Hugh McConnellogue, Group Head of Network Operations at easyJet said: “We are very pleased to be the first airline to receive this new FANS-C technology in our Airbus aircraft – and to try it for real in the SESAR demonstration. Our early hands-on experience already indicates that it promises to be an important enabler to increase the efficiency, safety, and on-time performance of our expanding operations – especially in the congested European airspace.”
Jean-Brice Dumont, Executive Vice President of Engineering, Airbus Commercial Aircraft said: “We congratulate easyJet on the delivery of the first FANS-C equipped Airbus aircraft, which marks the start of this very large demonstration of 4D initial trajectory sharing across Europe.” He adds: “We are proud to lead this SESAR project and to play our part in helping ATM respond to the increase in air traffic volume while enhancing safety, and to bring about a positive environmental impact thanks to a more efficient ATM system.”
From now until mid-2020 seven European airlines, which are all taking part in DIGITS, will progressively equip up to 100 of their A320 Family aircraft with the FANS-C technology. The “Very Large Demonstration” (VLD) will last more than a year and collect data from over 20,000 revenue flights, allowing stakeholders to demonstrate benefits of this technology during live day-to-day operations.
Paving the way for start of the DIGITS operational phase and to ultimately deploy this technology across Europe and the rest of the world, Airbus achieved the world’s first certification of FANS-C ‘4D’ avionics on a commercial aircraft in November 2018 – the initial aircraft type being the A320 Family. Moreover, to complement the airborne FANS-C technology, air navigation service providers (ANSPs) throughout Europe will develop the respective ground ATC tools.