FABEC cross-border coordination optimises inbound flights to Zurich Airport and reduces emissions

- Langen, Germany.

The German, French and Swiss air navigation service providers DFS, DSNA and skyguide successfully completed the operational implementation of the FABEC Extended Arrival Management (XMAN) for flights to Zurich Airport. Thanks to the improved coordination between the four control centres of Reims, Munich, Langen and Zurich, air traffic management in FABEC airspace has become even more efficient. It reduces holding patterns usage, fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. This is one of a series of implementations launched in 2015 with the objective of improving the arrival flows to the main airports within FABEC.

Improving safety and reducing emissions

The objective of the FABEC XMAN project is to reduce holdings and vectoring for arrival traffic at congested airports, which leads to reduced fuel burn, CO2 emissions, noise and costs. This improvement is made possible by an enriched information exchange between control centres managing the arrival flights. Today Zurich automatically sends arrival planning information to the en-route control centres of Reims, Munich and Langen. Based on this information, air traffic controllers of DFS and DSNA can better manage the arrival streams, by reducing the speed of flights going to Zurich for example. Similarly, skyguide receives arrival planning information from the Munich area control centre for arrivals to Munich Airport and acts on these to support Munich controllers.

The XMAN link to Munich and Langen became operational in early March 2017. The connection to Reims has been operational since June. Currently more than 75 percent of Zurich arrival traffic is covered. The planning radius is approximately 160 km around Zurich Airport and will be increased in the future. In other words, DFS, DSNA and skyguide are improving the arrival performance by working on arrival flights much earlier than was possible with the previous arrival management systems.

Real cross-border collaboration

FABEC area control centres (Langen, Maastricht, Munich, Reims) have already implemented several XMANs for inbound flights to Frankfurt, Munich and London Heathrow airports. The next implementation is scheduled for the end of 2017 and will cover the arrival flow from the Belgium/Dutch airspace to Frankfurt Airport. Extended Arrival Management is part of the SESAR deployment through the European Pilot Common Project regulation. 

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