Gate to Gate

The relentless growth of European air traffic is causing more and more congestion and delays, and, as the situation worsens, it might threaten the freedom to travel and economic growth. Given the complexity of the problems, and the number of stakeholders, solutions may exist only at the European level, by introducing new concepts into air traffic management and by favouring homogeneity.

The Gate-to-Gate project (as the Proposal selected for particular task 2.3.1/17 - Operational Platform for a European ATM system in the medium term timeframe 2005-2010), has the objective to define an operational concept providing some European safe solutions to these problems, and to perform validation trials on some important aspects of this concept. validate it.

Description

"The relentless growth of European air traffic is causing more and more congestion and delays, and as the situation worsens, it might threaten the freedom to travel, and economic growth. Given its complexity and the number of stakeholders, solutions to this problem may only be at the European level, by introducing new concepts into air traffic management and by favouring homogeneity."

Such an assessment justified for the European Commission to propose a set of tasks as part of the 5th Air Transport programme managed by DG TREN (Key Action "Sustainable Mobility and Inter-modality" of the "Competitive and Sustainable Growth" European Commission programme).

The Gate-to-Gate project (as the Proposal selected for particular task 2.3.1/17 - Operational Platform for a European ATM system in the medium term timeframe 2005-2010), has the objective to define an operational concept providing some European safe solutions to these problems, and to perform validation trials on some important aspects of this concept. validate it.

While all phases of flights are affected, a seamless gate-to-gate approach will be developed, allowing for a holistic European concept, consistent with European Commission strategy and relevant projects, consistent with EUROCONTROL Strategy and supported by core-area ATS providers as bringing solutions to their operational problems.

Thus, with reference to other EC projects, the Gate-to-Gate project will use OCD, EATMP2000+ strategy, and TORCH as the basis for developing the concept.

Other projects such as MA-AFAS, NUP and AFAS will also be strongly considered as developing TORCH from the Air perspective. Particularly, ASAS procedures will be given a high priority.

A validation strategy will be elaborated using MAEVA guidelines, and will be supported mainly by real-time simulations. These real-time simulations will require ATM ground validation platforms capable of emulating the concepts, and, as required by the EC, coherent with the architectural work developed in the AVENUE project.

The consortium is composed of:
  • 5 ATS Providers (namely AENA, DFS, DNA, ENAV, and LFV): they will develop the concept and the relevant validation strategy, host the real-time validation platform; some will provide their own platforms (CENA and DFS), the others (AENA, ENAV, LFV) will use the ACE platform provided by EUROCONTROL while integrating "local components", and perform local validation trials.
  • 3 ATM industrials (ALENIA, INDRA, and THALES ATM): they will participate in the production and validation of the concept, co-operate on improvements to the AVENUE architectural work, and provide ATM components as part of the real-time validation platforms (ALENIA for ENAV, INDRA for AENA and, perhaps, DFS, THALES ATM for DNA and LFV),

    (THALES ATM is also the Gate-to-Gate Project Co-ordinator),
  • EUROCONTROL will heavily support the ATS providers in developing the concept and the relevant validation strategy, and in performing the validation. It will assume project co-ordination for system specification activities and validation activities. EUROCONTROL will upgrade and deliver a real-time simulation platform (ACE) to some of the ATS providers' sites (AENA, ENAV, and LFV) to support local validation and will use this same platform at the EEC to demonstrate the complete Gate-to-Gate concept at project end,
  • 3 avionics and aircraft manufacturers (AIRBUS, BAE, and THALES AVIONICS): primarily, they will review the concept and validation tasks to ensure coherence with the vision they develop in other projects,
  • ISDEFE will co-ordinate the concept definition task and provide support to AENA,
  • NLR will assist some of the ATS providers in the definition of the concept, will perform some of the fast-time simulation trials, and will co-operate on some real-time validation with ENAV.

Context

European air traffic is growing. This is due to many reasons: development of international co-operation, development of tourism (more holidays available, more, shorter, holiday periods during the year), frequency of flights tending to increase (with smaller aircraft) to fight train competition, opening of countries to foreign competition. This increase in traffic causes congestion on airways and on airports, leading to delays or even, as it already happened sometimes, to flight cancellations. All passengers used to travel in Europe have experienced this congestion and associated delays. And the situation is already even worse than it may seem to be, as airlines already take predictable delays into account when planning their schedules.

Another, often less visible, problem related to the traffic level is safety: the number of incidents (and sometimes accidents) tends to increase, mainly at airports, because of the increasing traffic. This situation is expected to still worsen rapidly (5% and 10% increase a year forecast for the next 10 years) leading to a breaking point where the capacity cannot meet the demand, with serious consequences on economical growth.

During the same period, usual ATM operational concepts are going to reach their limits (e.g. using smaller sectors leads to a too heavy co-ordination workload). So it becomes urgent to find solutions to these problems. Lots of new ATM Operational Concepts are emerging, but still need to be validated with respect to the benefits they should bring, before being introduced into operational systems. The objective of G2G is to validate these concepts from the ground segment viewpoint.

Objectives

The specific objectives of the Gate-to-Gate project are to:
  • define and describe a coherent operational concept, consistent with other on-going European projects, and with stakeholders strategic plans, for potential implementation around 2010, and looking forward to develop Air-Ground integrated procedures.
  • define a strategy for evaluating the operational concept -up to performing large scale simulation trials - while focusing on operational aspects.
  • associate a majority of ATM stakeholders (ATS providers, ATM manufacturers, avionics and aircraft manufacturers, EUROCONTROL Agency) in the project to reach agreement on concept, secure its feasibility and so to speed up further decisions for implementation of the concept's elements.
  • have operational staff (e.g. pilots and controllers) co-operating in the validation of concept to assess operational feasibility and to gain their adhesion on the concepts elements and secure further implementation.
  • go on with the definition of an "open" validation architecture (the AVENUE architecture, for ATM real-time simulation systems) allowing for enhanced exchanges of ATM validation components and gain in homogeneity and cost - at European level - of developing and validating concepts.
  • contribute to the development of a reference ATM validation platform, at the EEC, that can be accessed by all ATM stakeholders (and disseminated).

Expected Results

General expected results could be identified in the same way as the objectives (see above). More detailed expected results - in terms of validation- will be available by the beginning of January 2004 as part of the project various validation plan and strategy documents.

Contact

Colin Meckiff
SSP Research Area Manager
Email: 
 
  Last validation: 02/11/2004