EUROCONTROL today signed a contract with SITA to launch PENS, a pan-European communications network service that will allow all air traffic control navigation service providers to exchange voice and data communications in a seamless and integrated manner.
PENS, a managed internet protocol (IP)-based regional communications backbone service, will provide an alternative to the ad-hoc, bi-lateral communications that air navigation service providers (ANSPs) mostly use today. Delivered by SITA, it will meet both current needs for inter-ANSP information exchange as well as those being planned in the SESAR programme for the System Wide Information Management (SWIM) initiative. Importantly, it will help those ANSPs who are still using the X25 Protocol to move to an IP service in a cost-efficient and manageable way in order to comply with the Single European Sky regulation. PENS will also replace the individual IP network services that have been used for services to EUROCONTROLs Central Flow Management Unit (CFMU) and the European Aeronautical Information Service Database (EAD). It will provide substantial economies of scale, as there are a number of common points through which both CFMU and EAD services are delivered. Security on the backbone will be achieved through multiple Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), which will ensure that the traffic generated by different PENS users will not interfere with anyone elses. PENS reflects the vision of a pan-European network and will be a key element in the future technical infrastructure for ATM in Europe. It also shows that when EUROCONTROL and ANSPs work together to put in place common contracts with industry, we can reduce costs and obtain a more efficient service. Besides, with PENS, we are making a sustainable contribution to the safety of air transport in Europe, observed David McMillan, Director General of EUROCONTROL. The contract between EUROCONTROL and SITA is worth up to 50 Million Euros over eight and a half years. The project will be managed by EUROCONTROL and overseen by a board containing representatives from participating organisations. EUROCONTROL will host the PENS Management Unit, which will take care of the day-to-day management of the service and pay costs for the first two years. After this period, PENS users will pay for their own management services.