States could save up to €200 million each year by implementing a number of ATM support services at pan-European rather than national level. In line with discussions late last year with the European Commission, EUROCONTROL has begun to look at the principle of such a move and will bring forward proposals very soon in support of the EU's SES.
ATM infrastructure projects in Europe already cost in the region of €1 billion each year, and inefficiencies caused by Europe's fragmented airspace impose extra costs of around €5 billion per year. With limited traffic growth, new approaches should be found to meet the targets set in the context of the SES Performance Scheme.
“It is simply not efficient to implement all SESAR solutions in each of the 80 European ATC centres. If we avoid implementing duplicate systems in every one of EUROCONTROL’s 39 member states then we can save money and generate additional benefits in terms of greater reliability and redundancy, improved consistency and enhanced interoperability,” said Frank Brenner, Director General of EUROCONTROL.
EUROCONTROL’s analysis shows that implementing ‘centralised services’ at pan-European, rather than national or regional level, could result in substantial savings for the States and air navigation service providers (ANSPs). This would bring them closer to achieving their performance targets and would also improve the efficiency of the air traffic network overall.
EUROCONTROL has initially identified nine projects that are natural candidates for centralisation. They typically involve handling data and range from a service for trajectory planning in four dimensions, to support for an improved and pan-European approach for effectively sharing airspace data for optimised civil and military usage.
These services would be put out to tender, opening the ATM-market, enabling the ANSPs and other industry contributors to take part and encouraging them to provide services outside their national borders. Following the successful model already in use for services such as the European Aeronautical Information Database (EAD), EUROCONTROL, as Network Manager is offering to develop the new centralised services, and play a leading role in their delivery.
“Centralised services represent a valuable step forward in improving cost-efficiency, starting to tackle the underlying issue of fragmentation and implementing market mechanisms into some ATM support services,” said Jacques Dopagne, Director Network Management at EUROCONTROL.