Europe’s Network Manager planning digital overhaul

The Eurocontrol Network Manager is planning a digital transformation to meet the challenge of providing ATM infrastructure capacity and sufficient scalability to allow for sustainable growth in aviation over the next decades.

At the beginning of its renewed European Commission mandate, 2020-2029, the Brussels-based agency will start developing a new, scalable IT system to ensure its air traffic management services can meet today’s and tomorrow’s performance targets.

“We will weld our business experience to the best of the IT industry’s technical solutions – such as applications, data integration and modern industrialised digital foundations,” it said.

The development and deployment phases are to be carried out incrementally – with all services delivered without interruption. The first major delivery of the new system is scheduled for 2023.

The digital transformation programme – iNM (the ‘i’ stands for ‘integrated’) – will feature advanced capabilities and new services supporting the evolution of operational concepts over the next decades through:

  • enterprise architecture;
  • agile development;
  • artificial intelligence and machine learning;
  • big data and data analytics;
  • probability modelling;
  • predictive analysis;
  • cloud solutions;
  • scalable systems;
  • cyber resilience.

“iNM solutions will also display fresh innovation and creativity rather than simply improve the system’s current elements,” said the Network Manager, adding that the transition to iNM will be carried out in close collaboration with all its stakeholders. Development will be incremental as it progressively replaces old systems and makes the solutions resilient and sustainable.

The iNM programme was approved at a meeting of Eurocontrol’s Provisional Council on 28 November and will deliver iNM over a ten-year investment programme between 2020-2029. A call for tender will be published at the beginning of 2020 and the contract will be awarded by the end of nest year.

“The IT systems used by the Eurocontrol Network Manager have proven their robustness and resilience over the last two decades,” said Eamonn Brennan, Eurocontrol director general. “It’s time to modernise the Network Manager’s systems in order to meet the challenges of sustainable growth for the decades to come. iNM will feature the latest IT developments and will be built on scalability, resilience, agility, and innovation. With iNM, we and our stakeholders will be able to meet our operational performance objectives.”