The new airspace architecture, developed in SESAR program at the request of the European Commission (EC), is designed to enable a shift to a new ATM service delivery landscape. Today, the architecture’s fragmentation causes an inefficient use which is related to diverging national practices. The current Air Traffic Management results in flight delays, extra fuel burn, and higher levels of CO2 emissions.
Consequently, the Airspace Architecture Study (AAS) proposes a progressive transition strategy towards the digital Single European Sky (SES), following these five objectives:
- Deliver an optimized airspace structure, supported by operational harmonization
- Enable ATM capacity and scalability to handle all en-route airspace air traffic safely and efficiently, even according to the highest traffic growth or downturn forecast
- Allow all flights to operate along user-preferred routing across the entire airspace
- Promote an optimal use of ATM resources by reducing inefficiencies and costs for airspace users and society
- Increase the overall resilience of the system to all types of incidents in terms of safety, efficiency and capacity.
The aim is to support a network that can safely and effectively accommodate 16 million flights (+50% compared to 2017) thanks to a system based on predictability and punctuality.
The Airspace Architecture Study shows some blocking points of the current ATM organization. CCS is engaged to provide solutions in order to optimize network flows and encourage cross-border cooperation to ultimately achieve seamless airspace.
CCS answering the needs of the infrastructure and data services dimension
In line with the deployment of SESAR, CCS is the key solution of the “infrastructure and data services dimension” which enable more flexibility for Air Traffic Management. Currently, air traffic services are mainly provided by each national provider, which are responsible for producing a part of the data. Most of the data is not fully shared between providers because of the lack of interoperability and data standardization
The European airspace goal proposed by AAS leverages modern technologies to decouple the air traffic service provision in a given airspace by including ATM data collection & processing.
This is where Coflight Cloud Services, with a Virtual Centre concept, comes in. The solution aims to centralize flight data processing services, allow the Air Navigation Providers to use the system remotely and to share the associated costs. It mainly requires computational resources that ensure scalability and greater flexibility.
In accordance with the Wise People Group recommendations, CCS is the way to increase the level of collaboration and automation support through a data rich and cyber-secured connected ecosystem.
Anticipate the ATM of tomorrow
The current technology deployed in most Area Control Centers (ACC) does not provide an optimal level of automation that would support extra flight capacity for the future. Indeed, “the predicted levels of delays by 2035 are unprecedented and significantly higher than the highest delays ever recorded in the network”² with 8.5mn average en-route delay per flight, vs 0.9mn in 2017. Many factors affect aircraft flight trajectory: delays to takeoff time, unexpected weather conditions, air traffic control instructions to avoid airborne conflicts… The system as a result also lacks scalability to meet the fast growing demand.
SESAR defines factors which limit capacity, scalability and resilience of the current air traffic, by a limited predictability and geographical constraints on air traffic.
Indeed, the current system limits the possibility for an ANSP to provide air traffic services beyond its current area of responsibility, because of the location of all technical services. It also limits the possibility to share technical services between multiple ANSPs, as already mentioned due to the limited interoperability, information and data sharing.
All these factors result in a lack of trajectory optimization and sub-optimization of traffic management, meaning that the network capacity potential cannot be achieved as it planned.
CCS, based on the advanced technology of Coflight, developed by Thales and Leonardo, contributes to improve flight trajectory prediction thanks to the following superior performance options:
- Extended calculation area : Coflight proves its efficiency with more than 9000 flights plans managed at the same time
- Free route: Coflight developed the “What if” functionality making the optimization trajectory research more efficient which allows to simulate trajectories in real time.
These two key points enable to limit infrastructures and flight times, thus reducing CO2 emissions. This is especially relevant in future airspace allowing both: a better flow management and datasharing between ANSPs and reducing environmental impact.
For the Digital Single European Sky
The current architecture is the result of historical operational and technical evolutions primarily conducted at a national level which caused today’s fragmented airspace. SESAR provides the sector an incredible opportunity for modernization in order to establish the Single European Sky through technology and new air traffic control systems. Through an international collaboration driven by EC, Eurocontrol and public or industrial European ATM stakeholders, SES has delivered improvements and European aviation landscape has also evolved considerably, delivering new challenges.
Innovative systems such as Coflight Cloud Services which meet SES and SESAR objectives, lead to improved interoperability and data sharing harmonization. As a part of this approach, CCS is building the sky of tomorrow by driving digitalization and enabling seamless airspace operations.
Coflight Cloud Services fully shares the SESAR values, to progressively enable additional flight capacity to answer the significant traffic growth, while maintaining optimal safety. With its new service delivery model, CCS opens the way to the future digital Single European sky.