The Paris Area Control Centre has deployed a more efficient air traffic system in high altitude for handling north-west flights of the Paris region to Paris-CDG airport.
This system is built around a merge point located approximately 40 NM from the airport: in case of high density of traffic, the air traffic controller instructs the pilot to fly on a concentric arc until he is authorised to join the merge point when the sequencing is the most efficient, and to continue its descent path. Without holding pattern, the flight is placed in a direct descent trajectory.
Under this project managed by DSNA, the French ANSP, in the framework of the SESAR programme, two evaluation trials in 2012 were performed. Participants in the trials included Air France, Belgocontrol, Maastricht ACC and the Eurocontrol Experimental Centre.
While using existing ground and airborne equipment, the results showed potential gains:
- In the area of safety : less radio frequency overloading, controller workload optimised;
- In the area of flight efficiency : a greater capacity to manage more flights simultaneously while they are in continuous descent, even during heavy traffic period ;
- No impact of this new design on the average flight time.
“By increasing safety, Point Merge gives more time for controllers to better manage unexpected events and to improve the service provided,” said a Paris ACC controller.
Around 200 controllers at Paris ACC were trained in order to make this concept a reality, and a close cooperation with airline companies was highly productive.
Maurice Georges, director of the French Air Navigation Service Provider (DSNA), said: “I would like to congratulate all those who contributed to the successful achievements of this project, a first in the Core Area which deals with the most dense and complex traffic at the heart of Europe. This more efficient organisation of our air traffic management offers quality and competitive services to all our operational partners and customers.”