Strategy and development

The ATM Network Manager function was created by the European Commission in 2011 to optimize the performance of the aviation network in Europe.

EU Regulation No 677/2011 of 7 July 2011 - amended by EU Regulation No 970/2014 of 12 September 2014 - lays down detailed rules for the implementation of air traffic management (ATM) network functions in accordance with Article 6 of Regulation (EC) No 551/2004 in order to allow optimum use of airspace in the single European sky and ensure that airspace users can operate preferred trajectories, while allowing maximum access to airspaces and air navigation services.

Coordination of the various functions of the network, development of consistent optimisation solutions, ensuring the required level of performance is a ‘service of general interest’ that will contribute to the sustainable development of the air transport system in Europe. The need to coordinate these activities and to perform them by a single body materialized with the creation of the Network Manager function.

Besides the binding legal acts governing the network management functions and tasks of all actors involved, the NM needs to develop the tools to execute those functions and tasks and accomplish the Strategic Objectives as defined in the Network Strategy Plan.

Among the contributors are the Network Strategic Projects. They are the main operational and technical evolutions led by the NM. They include network-wide deployment of those technological developments and operational procedures in the course of a Reporting Period. The Projects planned to date fall into seven areas: information systems, airspace, capacity, ATFM, airports, safety, and CNS optimisation.

The Network Strategic Projects are:

Flight Efficiency Initiative more

Description
The Flight Efficiency Initiative (FEI) offers aircraft operators the widest visibility on the potential of the network (most efficient routes) on the day of operations.

Objectives & benefits
The  Flight Efficiency Initiative entails scrutinising their flight plans and seeing if there is a quicker or more cost-effective way for their aircrafts to fly. The Network Manager can make the most dynamic use possible of the network and make for improved flight planning, substantial savings in fuel, miles and time.

The FEI also contributes to a strategic and continuous improvement of the airline operators’ route catalogue; the filing of flight plans is continuously improved.


 

Free Route Airspace more

Description
Free Route Airspace is specified airspace in which users may freely plan a route between a defined entry point and a defined exit point, with the possibility of routeing via intermediate (published or unpublished) waypoints, without reference to the ATS route network, subject to airspace availability. Inside this airspace, flights remain subject to air traffic control.

Objectives & benefits
To ensure and coordinate the gradual implementation, in a harmonised way, of Free Route Airspace throughout European airspace at and above FL310 by 2019, working towards the SESAR deployment objective of full Free Route implementation in 2022.

 

Airspace Management and Advanced FUA

Description

  • Introduces performance-driven operations based on the management of airspace configurations;
  • Provides processes that support the use of more dynamic and flexible elements as made available through Advanced FUA;
  • Describes a seamless, Collaborative Decision-Making (CDM)-based, ASM/ATFCM/ATS process with the advanced, real-time management of airspace configurations as well as a continuous sharing of information between all ATM partners, enabled by advanced technology developed in SESAR.

Objectives & benefits
The project’s objective is to further improve existing ASM/ATFCM processes by putting more emphasis on contributing to achieving performance targets as defined both at network and local/FAB level. It focuses on these primary objectives:

  • improve network performance through better utilisation of existing ASM processes;
  • enhance performance-driven ASM/ATFCM processes;
  • introduce more dynamic and flexible ASM/ATFCM/ATS processes;
  • provide for safe, efficient and accurate information/data flows.
Airport and TMA Network Integration

Description
To consolidate the operational relationship between the actors involved in airport and network operations. It includes:

  • minimising airport disruptions and delays, in particular in adverse weather situations;
  • setting up the collaborative processes which help improve airport and TMA operations – and so in turn improve airport and TMA performance;
  • better coordinating with ATM operations, so having a positive impact on network performance.

The implementation of airport operations centres at the largest airports facilitates coordinated planning as well as improving data exchange and coordination between NM and airports.

Objectives & benefits
The project will contribute to smoother and more cost-efficient operations in the network. The coordination and exchange of operational information with airports will lead to improved awareness of constraints; this in turn will help improve planning.

Better coordination will allow us to organise and plan operations in an optimum manner and avoid as far as possible the application of ATFM measures – especially through Cooperative Traffic Management procedures – so helping to reduce overall delays.

Implementation of traffic management tools and improved navigation performance will make for better traffic flows, bringing efficiency improvements and strengthening better management of environmental impact.


Cooperative Traffic Management more

Description

Cooperative Traffic Management is the collaborative process of determining and implementing optimal solutions for network operations through continuous information-sharing of individual and local preferences, in both the planning and execution phases of ATM.

The project addresses:

  • the implementation of Short-Term ATFCM Measures (STAMs), based on occupancy counts (incl. Mandatory Cherry Picking) and associated coordination tools;
  • improvements to traffic predictability by reducing tactical deviations from the filed flight plans (taking due account of flight efficiency needs);
  • the introduction of Target Time operations (TTOs) for regulated flights;
  • arrival sequencing.
Objectives & benefits

The Cooperative Traffic Management (CTM) project aims at optimising the delivery of traffic for the best use of ATM resources and to further reduce the need for ATFCM regulation.


Initial Trajectory Information Sharing

Description
The FF-ICE concept (Flight and Flow Information for a Collaborative Environment) covers the process for the submission, dissemination and use of flight data within the future ATM System and so acts as an enabler for many of the requirements identified by the Global ATM Operational Concept (ICAO Document 9854) and also reflected in the Network Strategy Plan.

FF-ICE will be used by the ATM Community as the basis on which ICAO’s Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPS) will be developed in order to ensure that they will be implemented globally in a consistent way. It will therefore describe the ‘future flight plan’ in the global context, both in terms of format (FIXM) and procedure (SARPS).

The project’s objective is to implement flight planning improvements in line with ICAO’s requirements and based on SESAR findings. As such, it will determine the European requirements and the resulting detailed deployment with regard to implementation in NM’s systems and services of the procedures and processes related to FF-ICE Phase 1, Extended Flight Plan and OAT flight plan integration and distribution.

The European requirements are expected to encompass the requisite support for associated Stakeholder implementation in addition to filling the holes identified in a ‘gap’ analysis of operational requirements, which were not addressed by FPL2012 or have developed since the elaboration of FPL2012 changes in 2006-7.

Objectives & benefits

  • New concepts of operation and new functionalities to be introduced, such as, but not limited to, advanced PBN which may not be supported by the current flight plan format;
  • Significant savings for ANSPs in being able to plan their migration on the basis of NM’s support;
  • Significant opportunities for NM to expand its services to states and airspace users beyond the European Union;
  • OAT integration is expected to enhance the processes associated with determining demand, leading to better resource allocation in support of advanced FUA.

European ATM Information Management System (EAIMS)

Description
EAIMS’s main objective is to deploy the reference source of aeronautical, ATFCM and related information for all ATM actors. This will facilitate the seamless integration of the upstream-downstream processes and also provide services/tools to help ANSPs meet their ICAO and Single European Sky (SES) obligations, such as compliance with the Aeronautical Data Quality (ADQ) Regulation. It will also help the Flight Operations community to maintain the necessary data.

In order to achieve these objectives, state-of-the-art services and supporting systems, compliant with the System Wide Information Management (SWIM) concepts, will be deployed. While implementing new generation systems, EAIMS will take the legacy systems into consideration so as to ensure a smooth migration and transition to the new service.

Objectives & benefits
EAIMS will deliver a consistent, accurate and up-to-date ATM data set. It will provide reliable access to this common source of pertinent information, with safety, operational and efficiency benefits.
NM Ops service platform (n-CONECT)

Description
The n-CONECT (network-COmmoN Enhanced Collaborative ATM) project is linked to the “NM Ops Service Platform” Strategic Project, as described in the NSP. It provides a global vision for future NM service interfaces. The initial focus of n-CONECT is planned convergence to single, redesigned HMI for all users, fit for purpose and flexible enough to meet the needs of the different user roles (both internal and external).

Objectives & benefits
The project will develop services and tools to:

  • ensure that all stakeholders involved in developing NM functions and future ATM systems have access to the Network view;
  • make Network information and decision flows available via the new Network Common Enhanced Collaborative ATM Platform, to support operational CDM by different stakeholders in the Network and across the ATFCM phases;
  • take advantage of new technologies (such as HTML5, COTS products for building the HMI).

Network Business Intelligence

Description
Business intelligence facilitates the transformation of the variety of data stores, both present and future, internal and external, sources into comprehensive historical, current and predictive views, covering all aspects of the network management functions and other appropriate tasks and activities carried out by the EUROCONTROL Agency.

The project’s objective is to strengthen network capabilities in terms of business and operational intelligence. The European ATM Network will be supported by system-wide information sharing of pre- and post-operations ATM information from all stakeholders. It will serve all users’ needs in these pre- and post-operations processes (e.g. forecasting and operations planning, deployment planning, performance reporting, regulatory monitoring). It will be stronger by being more consistent, better integrated, broader-based, more rapid and more widely shared.

Objectives & benefits
The project will allow:

  • a single source business intelligence repository accessible to all network actors;
  • increased awareness of performance issues and their underlying root causes;
  • elimination of duplication of data analysis applications;
  • significant reductions in internal and external data analysis costs;
  • shared network intelligence view including:
    • internal and external, NM and other Agency positions;
    • network design;
    • strategic and tactical planning;
    • ops;
    • post-operations performance;
  • a broader and richer set of data sources, ensuring that the forecast remains the best achievable;
  • an accelerated cycle of plan-do-review.

NM Support to Network Safety
Call Sign Similarity Tool (CSST) NM Strategic Project

Description
CSST – Service Level 1 is the detection and de-confliction of similar callsigns in a single aircraft operator’s flight schedule. Records and safety data show that approximately 75% of reported similarities occur between two (or more) aircraft belonging to the same airline. The approach we have adopted is to try to get each individual operator to put its own house in order before tackling the problem of ‘similarities’ between different AOs - see Service Level 2.

CSST - Service Level 2 should deal with the de-confliction of multiple aircraft operators’ schedules by the CSMC. This is a more complex operation and there are a number of challenges that will need to be overcome before centrally coordinated solutions can be introduced.

Maximise the number of airlines operating in the Network (to cover at least 90% of flights) and which use the Call Sign Similarity Tool Service Level 1; implement Service Level 2 by the end of RP2.

Objectives & benefits

  • Reduce the number of the call sign confusion safety occurrences by 84%;
  • Create a useful economy of scale for every airline by not developing different tools with different de-conflicting rules. Given its high level of automation, CSST saves significant labour and time for every airline that uses the tool to de-conflict its schedules (figures are available from small, medium and large air operators).

NM Support to Network Safety
SKYbrary NM Strategic Project

Description
SKYbrary provides a single point of reference for aviation safety knowledge and is freely accessible at: www.skybrary.aero. Visitors can browse through selected portals and categories of information, look at recent Safety Alerts issued by EUROCONTROL, or access a growing bookshelf of reference documents, including accident and serious incident reports.

SKYbrary provides coherent links from knowledge articles to direct behaviour-influencing applications like toolkits, e-learning modules, videos, posters, and presentations. The safety knowledge base adopts the concept of wiki-media products: anyone can comment, propose modifications to an existing article or submit a new one. However, a robust pre-publishing content control process ensures that quality, impartiality and consistency of stored safety data remains constant.

The project’s objective is to have 4 million users annually on SKYbrary by the end of RP2 (up from 1.2 million today).

Objectives & benefits

  • Safety-validated information and knowledge made available to stakeholders and professionals;
  • Aggregate and make globally available the safety knowledge that is scattered, known only locally;
  • Make safety improvements known, so reducing the costs of searching, collection and designing safety improvements that already exist but are not widely known.

NM Support to Network Safety
Safety Tools NM Strategic Project

Description
By implementing those tools the safety information/knowledge sharing, safety monitoring processes and safety investigation processes in the network will be harmonised:

  • Automatic Safety Monitoring Tool (ASMT),
  • Aerospace Performance Factor (APF),
  • Tool Kit for ATM Occurrence Investigation (eTOKAI) and
  • Risk Analysis Tool (RAT).

Objectives & benefits
The project’s objective is to ensure and coordinate Safety Management Tools’ gradual implementation in a harmonised way.

The aim is to have the RAT tool in place over the entire network (the severity part of RAT tool is mandated in both RP1 and RP2 for RWY Incursions, Losses of Separation and ATM Specific Occurrences), and to have the other safety management tools (ASMT, eTOKAI and APF) used in 90% of ANSPs and FABs, by the end of RP2.

Benefits

There will be economies of scale in developing safety management tools but also in implementing and operating them (they are web platforms e.g. RAT can be accessed from NM server and saves every organisation that is using it).

Harmonised tools will improve the process of defining the top five operational safety issues in the network and defining appropriate mitigation actions.

The safety tools will help operational stakeholders achieve their own safety performance targets.