Europe tables SESAR technology rollout blueprint

Industry chiefs have unveiled an ambitious strategy to roll out the advanced technologies that will underpin the Single European Sky.
The Single European Sky is one of the European Commission’s main transport initiatives, designed to overhaul Europe’s ageing air traffic control infrastructure to help minimise fuel burn, reduce unnecessary costs and make the most of Europe’s airport capacity.
The Preliminary Deployment Programme that has been released constitutes the SESAR Deployment Manager’s strategic view on the way forward and make that vision a reality.
The body which was selected on 5 December is led by former Italian air traffic control chief Massimo Garbini and is composed of a broad coalition of principal industry stakeholders who will each be expected to play a crucial role in how aircraft travel more effectively across the region.

The Strategic Implementation View
The Strategic Implementation View
* Extended Arrival Management and Performance Based Navigation in high density Terminal Manoeuvring Area
* Airport Integration and Throughput
* Flexible Airspace Management and Free Route
* Network Collaborative Management
* Initial System Wide Information Management
* Initial Trajectory Information Sharing

Since it assumed its role, the Deployment Manager has assessed more than 143 candidate projects that were developed within the public-private SESAR research and development initiative.
This has resulted in five broad areas grouping a total of 110 implementation projects that will be submitted to the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) that finances transformational transport projects within Europe with public money.
The cost of this shortlist of early projects amounts to a huge €836 million worth of investment and would require around €409 million of public funding. The total estimated cost of the development phase of SESAR is €2.1 billion, to be shared equally between
The total estimated cost of the development phase of SESAR is €2.1 billion, to be shared equally between the European Union, Eurocontrol and industry.
The Deployment Manager readily admits that the €409 million charge on the public purse significantly exceeds the earmarked €240 million for the first phase although points out that this ‘overshooting’ delivers ‘an overall positive message about industry’s readiness to implement to deliver’.
The Deployment Manager is however accountable for managing the timely, synchronised and coordinated implementation and so therefore plans to leverage available finance under 2014 -2016 funding mechanisms.
Here, it recommends fast tracking short-term projects that can be accomplished by 2016, such as aircraft arrival management, en route airspace and time-based scheduling of required navigation performance procedures. These smaller foundational projects could be co-funded for €304 million although INEA will decide on the eventual funding level.
One worrying aspect – as the Deployment Manager notes – is a marked lack of projects submitted by Europe’s military together with scant evidence that they were consulted on the impact of proposed civilian airspace projects.
“This could lead to an insufficient buy in … by the military stakeholders  and to a ‘backlog’ concerning  necessary  investments  in  modern  technology  to cope with the deployment of new ATM functionalities and release all benefits,” noted the Deployment Manager, adding that the priority should now be on promotion and further local coordination between the civil stakeholders and the military at national level.
A further concern was expressed over datalink technology which is an essential technology enabler for one of the six principal areas termed Initial Trajectory Information Sharing.
“There is still uncertainty regarding the most appropriate airborne and ground-based technologies to be implemented to enable the functionality. Therefore, regarding the six projects related to [datalink] implementation that have been submitted … there is some probability that the implemented technologies will either not comply with the conclusions of the ongoing validation by the SESAR Joint Undertaking or not provide for the necessary capacity to evolve to then be upgraded in accordance with these conclusions,” said the Deployment Manager.
It adds that the impact of this could be offset by the efforts of SESAR chiefs who could provide early results from their validation studies on datalink technology as well as to  only award projects that will  comply with SESAR’s eventual recommendations.
The plan was delivered to the European Commission on 31 March which is expected to decide whether to approve the strategy in June.