Today as a consequence of the Covid 19 crisis, ANSPs, like all aviation industry stakeholders, are facing many daunting challenges including how to adapt to volatile demand and uncertainty about future air traffic, reduced revenues and increasing cost pressure, potentially lasting changes in public perception of flying, and the need to mitigate the environmental impact of aviation. With airline passenger revenues expected to drop by 314 billion in 2020 according to the IATA, it is more important than ever for ANSPs to work together to improve the flexibility and efficiency of ATM operations and to continue to work to achieve the objectives of the Airspace Architecture Study and the European Green Deal.

We talked with Guillaume Ramonet to find out about the CCS virtual centre, a key enabler to
achieve this goal.

What is the CCS virtual centre ?

Based on SESAR program in the Airspace Architecture Study context, CCS is an enabler of the Virtual Centre and is speeding up the development of this concept with the deployment of the first level of CCS service, Technical Integration achieved on March 1, 2020. Coflight Cloud Services is fostering ANSP harmonization through improved ATM capacity and cost efficiency in Europe.

By definition, the virtual centre takes into account several Air Traffic Control units (ATSU) operating from different sites, by decoupling controllers from the ATM data service providers, such as flight data, radar and weather information. It requires standard data in order to manage information, processes, resources and infrastructure. In this way, the Virtual Centre reduces costs by promoting process harmonization within and between ANSPs.

How does CCS fit into this Virtual Centre initiative ?

The Virtual Centre Model powered by CCS has a system based on more operational flexibility, agility, service continuity and cost efficiency. The system is considered as a key enabler for Virtual Centre by providing infrastructure rationalization and airspace delegation solutions.

Why is it such an innovative concept ?

CCS is driving innovation in ATM by enabling Gate-to-Gate itineraries, harmonizing concepts of operations between ANSPs, and leveraging the agile methodology and short term implementation to take onboard new opportunities as soon as they arise.

Through the innovative CCS cost-sharing model, several ANSPs remotely use the same Coflight system to deliver FDP services. This has the advantage of sharing investment and operating costs fairly according to their respective activities.

In this way, CCS contributes to considerably reducing service costs for ANSPs whatever their size with regards to infrastructures, electricity, maintenance and human resources.

What are the key benefits ?

First CCS, ensures interoperability allowing seamless exchange of digital information between all ATC actors through SWIM and IOP concept.

CCS also guarantees service continuity, provides safeguards in the event of cyber-attacks and achieves optimal security through its security operations centre.

With its advanced capabilities, CCS allows several ANSPs to remotely use the same system to deliver FDP services, offering a new economic model for sharing investment and operating costs.

From an environmental perspective, the CCS virtual centre is right on target when it comes to meeting the objectives of the European Green Deal. It improves trajectory prediction, allowing more flexible trajectory planning and free route thus reducing flight times and CO2 emissions. Our teams are also focusing on implementing the next level,  cross-border free route thanks to interoperability of IOP systems. 

CCS is working to improve the energy efficiency of ground infrastructures by enabling to reduce the number of data centres needed. We are also focusing on optimizing resources through virtualization and increasing the share of renewable energy, in particular hydrogen, in the supply of energy to data centres. This multi-faceted strategy will ultimately help mitigate the environmental impact of aviation and achieve more sustainable mobility for citizens.

Finally, CCS is open-architecture, modular and interoperable, for maximum flexibility and agility. Based on the technology of key ATM suppliers in Europe, Thales and Leonardo, CCS guarantees technological system updates and regulatory compliance, empowering ANSPs, whatever their size,  to focus on their core activities.