Point merge

Improving and harmonising arrival operations.

Point merge is a systemised method for sequencing arrival flows developed by the EUROCONTROL Experimental Centre (EEC) in 2006.

Point merge is now operational in Oslo (2011) and three Norwegian regional airports (2014), Dublin (2012), Seoul (2012), Paris ACC (2013), Kuala Lumpur (2014), Lagos (2014), Canary Islands (2014), Hannover (2014), Leipzig (2015) and London City and Biggin Hill (2016).

Point Merge is one of the ICAO aviation system block upgrades (ASBU) and is referenced as a technique to support continuous descent operations (CDO - ICAO doc 9931).


Today’s situation with radar vectoring makes for a heavy controller workload, a great deal of radio communication, diminution of pilot situational awareness, difficulty in predicting and improving vertical profiles and large dispersion at low altitudes.

Point Merge is expected to provide benefits in terms of safety, environment (in approach sectors) and capacity (in terminal sectors), even with high traffic loads.

Depending on the operational and environmental constraints, and on the design choice made, these are the expected benefits:

  • simplification of controller tasks, reduction of communications and workload;
  • better pilot situational awareness;
  • more orderly flows of traffic with a better view of arrival sequences;
  • improved containment of flown trajectories after the merge point;
  • better trajectory prediction, allowing for improved flight efficiency;
  • standardisation of operations and better airspace management.

How it works

Point Merge is designed to work in high traffic loads without radar vectoring. iT is based on a specific P-RNAV route structure, consisting of a point (the merge point) and pre-defined legs (the sequencing legs) equidistant from this point. The sequencing is achieved with a “direct-to” instruction to the merge point at the appropriate time. The legs are only used to delay aircraft when necessary (“path stretching”); the length of the legs reflects the required delay absorption capacity.

New technique for sequencing arrival traffic (2016)

Hybrid Point merge trials at Paris Orly airport (2015)

Point Merge in Paris ACC (2011)

Point Merge in Oslo (2011)