Three ATC providers to manage Belgian airspace with one single system

skeyes CEO Johan Decyper, Eurocontrol director general Eamonn Brennan, director of EUROCONTROL MUAC John Santurbano and Ann D’hondt from Belgian Defence

skeyes, Belgian Defence and Eurocontrol’s Maastricht Upper Area Control Centre (MUAC) intend to use the same system for air traffic management from 2024.

skeyes and Belgian Defence said they aimed to provide integrated civil-military air navigation services in Belgian airspace by 2030, with high reliability and efficiency. From its air traffic control centre located at Maastricht, Eurocontrol MUAC already provides seamless, integrated civil-military air navigation services in the upper airspace of the Benelux countries and north-west Germany.

A shared civil-military air traffic management system (SAS) would support the partners’ objective and would be a strong enabler to cope with capacity and cost efficiency challenges in Belgian airspace. It would also support the deployment of an efficient and effective external contingency solution in the event of a failure of one of the facilities providing technical services. Enhanced cooperation on services will be enabled through the convergence of the systems.

In 2019, Belgian Defence will replace its ATM system by a Shared Air Traffic Management System (SAS2) – the same as Eurocontrol MUAC’s. In a second phase, skeyes intends to replace its ATM system with a Shared Air Traffic Management System (SAS3) solution. This would result in a single system used by all three parties providing services in Belgian airspace. In order to meet this objective, the three parties will carry out a joint study for a possible future implementation of a SAS3 solution.

Johan Decuyper, CEO of skeyes said: “We have already taken important steps in the integration of civil and military air traffic control management. By the end of 2019, the military air traffic control centre will move to the skeyes facility in Steenokkerzeel. A shared Air Traffic Management System for skeyes, Belgian Defence and Eurocontrol MUAC will be the next step towards enhanced integration of service provision, with significant benefits for our customers in terms of safety, capacity, efficiency and reliability.”

Major General Frédéric Goetynck from Belgian Defense added: “Having the three air navigation service providers in Belgian airspace working on the same system will also ensure a smoother coordination and communication which will benefit flight safety.”

John Santurbano, director of Eurocontrol MUAC concluded: “Data services is the solution for addressing ATM system fragmentation across Europe. In the past, Eurocontrol MUAC successfully implemented similar solutions for military partners. We are now ready and keen to embark on a similar challenge with one of our key civil partners in the core area of Europe. A Shared ATM System will be essential to improving the current cost-efficiency and capacity challenges.”