Building the future Network: research, development and validation activities

EUROCONTROL research, simulation and validation experts are engaged in developing the next generation of tools and procedures to be deployed by the Agency and its stakeholders. This work ranges from exploratory research, initial modelling and prototyping through to validation, pre operational demonstration and support to deployment – the entire cycle of air traffic management (ATM) research, development and deployment.

One of EUROCONTROL’s most important raisons d’être is to improve the efficiency of the European ATM Network. So as part of its role as Network Manager and as a member of the SESAR Joint Undertaking, the Agency has implemented a cost-effective and integrated validation, development and deployment cycle of activities for Network Management Functions. These allow for a smooth hand over of research results and knowledge to the Network Manager, so enhanced Network Management Functions can be successfully deployed in a timely manner. This close relationship with the Network Manager has allowed the Agency’s research and development teams to closely align their work to the performance improvement targets set for Network Management operations.

Network Management research and development capabilities are helping to create a wide range of new technologies to ensure all ATM stakeholders reach their own operational goals – while improving the overall performance of the Network. The work takes place within the framework of the SESAR programme, both at a strategic level – for example, leading the Network Operations and Information Management Systems work programme within SESAR 1 and continuing this research within the SESAR 2020 programme – and at a tactical level, being able to use a fast track validation cycle to respond to shorter-term requests for Network-related prototypes from airspace users, airports, national and international ATM service providers – such as Massive Aircraft Diversion (MASSDIV).

“The work of our research teams is all about delivering results, quantifiable, precise and significant Network improvements. Recent trials have shown that by implementing short term air traffic flow and capacity management (ATFCM) measures, we can cut ATFCM delays by up to 80% over the current performance,” Joe Sultana, Director, Network Manager.

The technology behind the many programmes in which Network Management researchers are involved may be complex and diverse but the guiding principles behind them are simple. All research has to be results-based, independent of national or industrial bias and fully-costed, targeting the performance of the Network and aligned to the business plans of its customers.

To carry out this strategically important role, EUROCONTROL has brought together a unique set of highly-skilled researchers, able to access a wealth of operational data and technology platforms.  EUROCONTROL has over 50 years of experience in designing and operating simulation systems, from the very simple to the extraordinarily complex, to collect sufficient evidence to show the precise Network benefits which will be achieved from deploying new systems and procedures.

EUROCONTROL Experimental Centre

Our research and development activities are contributing to shaping the future European air traffic management system.

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