SESAR partners close in on 4DTM for single integrated view

SESAR’s four dimensional trajectory management project members Indra, Leonardo and Thales have conducted the first formal exercise to enable control centres across Europe to share complete information about air operations in real time.

The ultimate objective is delivering tools that will help to increase efficiency and capacity of air traffic management throughout the region. Following this successful trial, the final exercise will take place next year, clearing the way for deployment.

Europe has some of the busiest airspace in the world, covering 11.5 million sq km of airspace managed through 63 en-route centres. Today, when an aircraft crosses several borders, destination control and airports may not have access to complete and updated flight information.

Indra, Leonardo and Thales, within the framework of the 4DTM project, have developed the Interoperability (IOP) solution that will help to solve this problem, allowing all involved concerned ATC centres to know simultaneously the complete flight trajectory, thus supporting smoother coordination and transfer between ATC centres improving European air traffic flows.

Taking place simultaneously in the Maastricht, Reims, Langen and Rome area control centres, the demonstration involved Eurocontrol and French, German and Italian air navigation service providers (DSNA, DFS and ENAV, respectively). The solution was tested in a variety of en-route scenarios, covering different stages of the flight.

The technological solution is based on Flight Objects that allow all parties involved in the management of a flight to share, access and update information about its situation to have a consistent view of its development.

Controllers checked how the solution managed the Flight Objects using System-Wide Information Management (SWIM) to share updated trajectory information, and were able to coordinate the transfer of several flights across the concerned en-route ATC centres.

Results showed concept feasibility, increased situational awareness and seamless operations such as change of route spanning several centres.

Further development will allow a consistent view of the flight that will make it possible to schedule and execute flights more accurately, reducing workload and increasing efficiency.

The development of this solution follows the work conducted in the first phase of the SESAR programme, which ended in 2016 with the release of SESAR Initial ground-ground Interoperability Solution . This solution was developed with the air navigation service providers in Germany (DFS), France (DSNA) and Italy (ENAV), Eurocontrol (MUAC), Spain (ENAIRE), UK (NATS), and the air navigation service providers partnership COOPANS. The Network Manager also participated in the activity.

FO IOP is one of eight solutions currently being developed as part of the Four Dimensions Trajectory Management (4DTM) project, whose overall aim is to establish the technological building blocks for trajectory based operations.

The 4DTM consortium, led by Indra, is composed of 28 members spreading over air navigation service providers, technology firms and research bodies across the whole continent.

The project has received funding from the SESAR Joint Undertaking under European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.