In November 2016, DSNA implemented a new-generation, stripless ATC system, “ERATO Electronic Environment (EEE)”, in the Bordeaux Area Control Centre. This change management was superbly executed thanks to a perfect example of good coordination between Air Navigation Service Providers, airspace users, military partners and the EUROCONTROL Network Manager. This initiative received a special mention in the category “Innovation / Change management” of the Single European Sky Awards at the World ATM Congress in Madrid on 7 March 2017.
Whereas the modernisation of air traffic management systems can generate up to 1 million minutes of delay, with an average delay per flight of 1 hour, the average delay per delayed flight for this operation was between 5 to 20 minutes and the total delay generated from 17 to 30 November 2016 amounted to just 70,000 minutes. If we consider that the average cost of 1 minute delay in air transport is €83, the savings for passengers amounted to some €100 million.
The success of this implementation results from various innovative initiatives :
Preparation phase: DSNA and NM initiated planning and coordination in April 2016 with dedicated focal points to find the best solutions for flight programmes and to mitigate impact on the airports concerned. Neighbouring control centres adapted staffing levels. Aircraft Operators accepted rerouting scenarios generating an additional operating cost to minimise delays. Military partners agreed to limit their activities and the use of civil resources.
Tactical phase: DSNA manned a dedicated ERATO position in the Brussels NM Operations Centre (NMOC), making a substantial difference by increasing situational awareness and improving coordination, flexibility and reactivity. A dedicated Portlet on the NOP Portal provided detailed pre-tactical and tactical information to airspace users; NMOC held regular network teleconferences to inform airlines of the daily plan provided by DSNA. Neighbouring control centres coordinated improvements.
The lessons learnt will feature in a ‘Best Practices’ guide; this will be most useful for any future major air traffic management systems change in Europe.
Maurice Georges, CEO’s DSNA, and Joe Sultana, EUROCONTROL Network Manager, said : “This mention highlights that thanks to an advanced collaborative approach between all operational actors involved, the Bordeaux Centre’s ERATO implementation was one of the best ATM systems transitions ever made in Europe and has contributed to make to streamline the Single European Sky.”
With EEE, a 10% capacity improvement is expected in the high season starting in April 2017. As traffic is increasing for the Bordeaux ACC (+ 6% per year), this represents potential delay savings of approximately €30 million compared to 2016.
EEE is a project based on a SESAR solution, co-financed by European Union funding.