First concrete SESAR achievements in 2011

At the biggest international Air Traffic Management exhibition, the SESAR Joint Undertaking presents the first components of the future European ATM system. The aim of this first SESAR Release is to group projects and validation exercises and to start delivering together with the 49 SESAR members and associate partners tangible results at a pre-industrialisation stage as of this year.

SESAR is set to modernise air traffic management in Europe. Recent projections predict for Europe a doubling of flights by 2030 compared to 2009 levels. This equals 16.9 million movements; everybody knows that the current air traffic management system cannot cope with such an increase. SESAR is prepared to address this challenge by presenting first benefits for the aviation community this year, just as planned., says Patrick Ky, Executive Director of the SESAR Joint Undertaking during the SESAR Forum at ATC Global 2011.

Periodic releases
With the commitment of the private and public partners involved in the work programme, SESAR will deliver results through periodic releases.

The first SESAR Release is the outcome of a thorough status review of the approximately 300 SESAR projects to see where early results can be achieved to quicker serve the aviation world. Projects which are included in the 2011 Release will have been verified and validated in an operational environment to allow for a decision on industrialisation and subsequent deployment.

With the first SESAR Release, the European ATM modernisation programme reveals initial components of the future European ATM system. The validation exercises will cover the areas of efficient and green terminal airspace operations, the initial 4D trajectory, end to end traffic synchronisation, as well as integrated and collaborative network management. Concrete benefits will be achieved for airlines, pilots, airports, air traffic controllers, passengers and the environment.

Improved procedures, tool sets, prototypes

Through simulations, prototypes, shadow mode or live and flight trials, the SESAR members will perform 29 validation exercises all over Europe, the first of which have already taken place in February. Some examples are: 

  • DSNA together with Airbus, Eurocontrol and NATS experts conducts validation exercises on the generalisation of Auto Pilot / Flight Director TCAS (AP/FD TCAS). The upgraded mid-air collision tool aims to support pilots through an automated solution and will contribute to further improving aviation safety.
  • SESAR member NORACON a consortium consisting of eight air navigation service providers performs ATC services at Ängelholm airport from a remote site with a pre-industrial remote tower prototype. Remote tower technology allows air traffic at small or medium-sized airports to be managed and controlled remotely from a single, larger air traffic services centre.
  • NATS carries out new approach procedures using satellite technology at Southampton airport to further increase safety of aircraft operations, to reduce the number of disruptions due to poor weather conditions and to increase the cost-effectiveness of approach operations.
  • Eurocontrol, LFV and Airbus confirm through flight trials procedures for Controlled Time of Arrival features exchanged between aircraft and ground using initial 4D capabilities. The prototype and procedures will allow air traffic controllers and pilots to share the same information of a flight and will enhance datalink services supporting the 4D trajectory.


While the first validation exercises for Release 1 are just being conducted, we have already started preparing for the 2012 Release. The 2,000 staff involved in the SESAR programme are keen to deliver periodic results, Patrick Ky underlines.
The next Release will build on the 2011 activities and will include more developed 4D features. Data exchange will continue to be developed to further improve the synchronisation between the airborne and ground flight profiles while activities will be performed at airports to improve surface management and runway throughput. In the terminal airspace area efforts will concentrate on advanced Continuous Descent Approaches and Continuous Climb Departures to further increase efficiency and lower the environmental impact. Certainly, the SESAR Release 2012 will also contain elements for better end-to-end traffic management.
ATC Network
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