In the night to Thursday, 1 March 2018, DFS completed the first implementation step of DFS free route airspace. Since midnight, FRA has been available in large portions of upper airspace in Germany. Free route airspace is a paradigm shift and replaces the existing air traffic service route network. Airspace users can choose from a multitude of direct route options between numerous entry and exit points, thus enabling shorter, and therefore fuel-saving and emission-saving flight routes.
In the airspace controlled by Karlsruhe Upper Area Control Centre, free route airspace is available around the clock over the northeast (above FL 285) and southeast (above FL 315) of Germany. In the more complex airspace over western (above FL 245) and southern (above FL 315) parts of Germany, the availability of free route airspace is initially limited to night-time hours (23:30 to 05:00 local time). Here, FRA H24 will be introduced at the end of 2019.
The control centres in Bremen and Munich are also involved in FRA implementation to the extent allowed by current technology. Bremen ACC, responsible for the northeast of Germany, offers additional direct route options at night for flights above FL 245 up to FL 285. Munich ACC offers such direct route options around the clock in the southeast and south of Germany between FL 245 and 315.
As part of the FABEC free route airspace project, DFS is taking a significant step towards complying with the European Pilot Common Project regulation in the very dense and complex airspace above Germany. This regulation aims to offer airspace users even more efficient and thus cost- and environmentally-friendly flight routes.
The Functional Airspace Block Europe Central (FABEC) Free Route Airspace project defines a gradual implementation approach based on a single common FABEC concept of operations, which complies with standards defined by the Network Manager. The implementation has been closely coordinated with airlines and flight planning service providers. Since December 2017, EUROCONTROL Maastricht Upper Area Control Centre (MUAC) has been operating free route airspace over Belgium, northwest Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands above FL245 at night. Complementary steps are planned for the coming years.
You can find an explanatory animation of the Free Route concept on www.fabec.eu,