MUAC, DFS and Lufthansa pioneer large-scale Free Routing

13 December 2012

Following the initial introduction, in 2011, of Free Route Airspace in the areas controlled by EUROCONTROL’s Maastricht Upper Area Control Centre (MUAC) and the DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung Karlsruhe Upper Area Control Centre, 298 new direct routes have been implemented on 13 Dec 2012, bringing the amount of direct, flight-plannable routes in the area to a total of 656.

103 of these direct routes starting in MUAC airspace are now linked with direct routes in the Karlsruhe area, creating a large-scale free routing airspace over Belgium, most of Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. At the same time, MUAC will be extending the availability of 83 directs to 24 hours, bringing the total number of direct routes now available in the MUAC airspace at weekends and on week days to 405.

This milestone is the first tangible achievement of the “Free Route Airspace Maastricht and Karlsruhe” (FRAMaK) project, a programme of SESAR Solutions Demonstrations to deliver concrete, innovative solutions which generate benefits for all air transport stakeholders. In particular, FRAMaK aims to offer cross-border direct routes in the busy and complex core area of Europe, essentially doing away with inefficient route connections caused by the boundary between the areas of responsibility of MUAC and Karlsruhe for those aircraft operators taking advantage of the new, direct routes. In 2011 there were more than 770,000 flights which crossed the border between the two centres. On top of introducing direct cross-border routes, FRAMaK will also demonstrate the feasibility of user-preferred routings, allowing aircraft operators to fly the most efficient routes, for example to exploit jet streams for fuel efficiency or to avoid areas of turbulence.

FRAMaK is formed by a consortium of airspace users and ANSPs - MUAC, the Karlsruhe Upper Area Control Centre and Lufthansa - in a two-year contract with the SESAR Joint Undertaking (SJU). The benefits of SESAR solutions aim at reducing ATM unit costs, reducing environmental impact, increasing the quality of service and enabling an increase in capacity.

With this significant development, MUAC and Karlsruhe, along with their aircraft operating partners, are making considerable progress towards the FABEC airspace strategy's ambition of implementing and operating a large-scale Free Route Airspace in the high-density core of Europe

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