On Track

Faced with significant traffic increases across its airspace, French air navigation service provider DSNA and Thales continue to work together to implement 4–FLIGHT, a new-generation ATM system for en-route control at the two pilot centres of Marseille and Reims.

At this year’s World ATM Congress, the partners announced that the new system at Marseille and Reims area control centres (ACCs) is due to be operational in the winter of 2021/2022. The Paris ACC will be operational in the winter of 2022/2023.

4-FLIGHT is a complex ATM programme that encompasses the development of a new generation stripless control system for high density airspace and incorporates the Coflight advanced flight data processing system, a user interface offering a range of innovative control tools, and an advanced simulation environment.

Moreover, this new platform is a major enabler for the integration of the innovative solutions developed for SESAR, the technical pillar of the Single European Sky. 4-FLIGHT will ultimately equip all five French ACCs.

This long-term programme, co-financed by INEA and designed to meet the challenges of the Single European Sky, achieved a number of significant milestones in 2018. Based on incremental deployment principles, live trials of the system began in 2017 at the Marseille and Reims ACCs during reduced night-time service hours, and have continued successfully, with the complexity of the trials progressively being increased.

Software version validations are also taking place incrementally, and DSNA reports that feedback on the latest release has been very positive. Three additional versions are planned to provide the system with the full operational capability required for routine operations.

“The 4-FLIGHT programme deployment is progressing well and the latest software upgrades and system trials have been a great success,” reported Jean Ferré, Thales vice president, ATM activities who added that the first operational deployment are expected in the winter of 2021/2022. 

“The operations rooms of our two pilot centres are subject to further transformation in order to accommodate sufficient 4-FLIGHT suites without downgrading capacity,” added Maurice Georges, chief executive of DSNA. “At the Reims ACC, half of the control suites are already equipped. We are also focused on the launch of conversion training for our operational controllers and air traffic safety electronics personnel (ATSEP). This is another big challenge that the ACCs must deal with at the same time. With 4-FLIGHT, DSNA will offer higher quality, more competitive and fully SESAR-aligned services to all aircraft operators in some of Europe’s busiest airspace.”