SESAR showcases first crop of advanced generation of ATM technologies for European skies

The SESAR Joint Undertaking and its members have showcased the future of aviation with the delivery of a catalogue of technological and operational solutions from its very first work programme.
At a three-day conference and an exhibition held in collaboration with the Dutch EU Presidency which brought together key decision makers from both the public and private sector, the SESAR JU said it would deliver over 60 solutions by the end of 2016.
It said these will be essential in assisting in the modernisation of Europe’s airspace that cover improved automation, increased digitisation and essential communication between airports, airlines and air navigation services.
solutions-mapAt a press briefing, Florian Guillermet, executive director of the SESAR JU said the determination and commitment of Europe’s aviation industry to modernise the continent’s airspace and deliver these solutions has gone beyond individual interests and politics, placing innovation and unity firmly at the heart of our European skies.
Europe’s Air Traffic Management (ATM) system is highly fragmented and reliant on ageing technology. Current inefficiencies in the air traffic management value chain amount to €4 billion annually and long lead times often mean that technological change happens at a slow pace.
And yet in a short space of time, as Florian Guillermet pointed out: “SESAR JU has succeeded in bringing together more than 100 organisations and 3,000 experts from across Europe to fast track the delivery of tangible performance-based solutions, validated, documented, packaged and publically available for implementation by industry players. It’s testament to what Europe can do when we work together.”
Marian-Jean Marinescu, member of the European Parliament said: “SESAR offers Europe an incredible opportunity for modernisation. We will accomplish the Single European Sky through technology, through the new air traffic control systems of SESAR. The services and underpinning technology should be designed keeping in mind the 600 million passengers flying over Europe each year. Passengers should benefit from safety, comfort and affordable tickets. A more efficient air traffic management system can deliver this.”
To deliver these solutions, the SESAR JU and its members together have conducted 300 industrial research projects, 350 validation exercises and 30,000 flight trials, taking ATM research “out of the lab” and into real-life air traffic operations across Europe and internationally. These solutions have been delivered in line with the European roadmap for ATM modernisation (European ATM Master Plan) and serve as a basis for further research in SESAR 2020.
For an average trip taken in Europe, it is expected that these solutions will offer a 20 minute reduction in door-to-door travel time, 10kg in fuel savings per passenger and €15 in ticket savings.
“SESAR is not only bringing real economies in time and expense for passengers and the necessary innovations for the industry; it is also a solid investment. Every euro invested in SESAR R&D results in a €6 return on investment for Europe” it said.
Since the launch of the first SESAR phase, A6 Alliance members, together with their SJU partners, have achieved significant results: 25 SESAR solutions are currently ready to be deployed with a further 32 scheduled to be completely developed by the end of the SESAR 1 programme.
The A6 Alliance is a coalition of ANSPs committed to the modernisation of the European ATM system. It was founded in 2011 by the six ANSP members of the SESAR JU – DFS, DSNA, ENAIRE, ENAV, NATS and the NORACON consortium (including Austro Control, AVINOR, EANS, Finavia, IAA, LFV and Naviair). In 2015, it expanded to include PANSA, the COOPANS Alliance and B4 members; In addition, a cooperation agreement has been signed with skyguide.
“Our results clearly demonstrate our commitment to shaping European air traffic management,” said Klaus-Dieter Scheurle, A6 Alliance chairman and CEO of DFS. “Together with our partners within the aviation industry, we will continue to make the Single European Sky a success – for the benefit of the aviation industry, the European market and its citizens.”
From the start, the A6 Alliance has been a very active contributor to the first programme of SESAR development phase by validating a large number of SESAR solutions.
A6 Alliance members have already put 17 of these into operation. Some examples of successful solutions involve arrival management and point merge, extended arrival management, time-based separation and user-preferred routings. A further 18 solutions will be deployed in the coming years; these include single remote tower operations for medium traffic volumes, target time of arrival concepts and advanced short ATFCM measures. Moreover, seven other solutions have been partially deployed at some A6 sites including multi-sector planning, continuous descent operations and free-route airspace concepts.
In the SESAR 1 programme, more than 200 SESAR R&D projects involved 1,200 experts from A6 members. The A6 Alliance managed a total of six work packages. These were: Target Concept and Architecture Maintenance (DFS); Validation Infrastructure Adaptation and Integration (ENAV); En-Route operations (DSNA); TMA operations (NATS); Airport operations (ENAIRE); Information Management (NORACON). The overall net in-kind contribution was about €200 million.
The A6 Alliance said it would continue to play an active and significant role in SESAR 2020, which presents a unique opportunity for Europe’s air traffic management (ATM) partners to continue to provide ATM in the future that is viable, safe, efficient and environmentally acceptable. While the overall budget has been significantly reduced in comparison to SESAR 1, the A6 Alliance said it would participate in all 28 projects and will manage the development of 34 new SESAR solutions.