During the night of 24th January 2017, Reims UAC handled, for the first time, actual air traffic using the future French Air Traffic Management system 4-FLIGHT and the advanced Flight Data Processing System, Coflight.
This event marks a major milestone for DSNA, the French air navigation service provider (ANSP) and its industrial partner, Thales, the world leader in air traffic management, in their longstanding partnership to develop France’s next generation ATC system. For this operation, Coflight was directly connected to Network Manager Operation Centre (EUROCONTROL)’s data. It allows air traffic controllers to optimise trajectories and thus, deliver optimum performance to airspace users. Coflight uses the most advanced 4D trajectory processing enabling powerful 4-FLIGHT ATC tools. This live trial took place in stand-alone mode to respect the safety conditions validated by the National Supervisory Authority.
Elsa, controller-expert for 4-FLIGHT who handled the system during the live trial, explained with enthusiasm : ”Seeing 4-FLIGHT in operational use for the first time was a high point in my professional career and an insight into what our work will be in the future. It opens up a whole new, promising chapter in our operations!”
The objective of this exercise was to evaluate a first level of system integration, including technical monitoring and its new components. Several night and day live operations will be conducted at the two pilot sites, Reims and Marseille ACCs, in 2017 and 2018 in order to optimise the switchover process and to give operational users the possibility to gain first in-live experience with the new system. The next live trial for 4-FLIGHT / Coflight is scheduled to take place at Marseille ACC on the night of the 15th March 2017.
The 4-FLIGHT system, co-financed by the European Union, is defined by DSNA and developed by Thales. Coflight is defined by DSNA and ENAV, the Italian ANSP, and developed by the Franco-Italian Thales / Leonardo industrial consortium. In 2016, the French air navigation services handled 3 million flights. DSNA, the first European ANSP to have exceeded this threshold, is proud to pursue progress of the 4-FLIGHT programme with Thales in order to meet the challenge of the high increase in air traffic demand in France and Europe.
Jerome Nicolle, Director of the 4-FLIGHT & Coflight programmes group at Thales, commented on this first operational: “It was a great satisfaction to witness the system go live for the very first time. Thales has worked tirelessly to deliver to the DSNA operational personnel an efficient product that meets all Single European Sky requirements”. And Maurice Georges, DSNA’s CEO, concluded : “This first evaluation performed successfully with real traffic is a major step in the safe implementation of our future ATM system. It is also a source of great motivation for all our staff involved in this ambitious programme, whom we all congratulate”.
Future 4-FLIGHT ATM system at Reims control centre