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 28 places over 4 continents and the list keeps on growing. First deployed in Oslo (2011) and Dublin (2012), the new method quickly achieved an international outreach, not only within the ECAC area, but also far beyond its borders. It was put into operation at Seoul (2012), Paris ACC (2013), three Norwegian regional airports (2014), Kuala Lumpur (2014), Lagos (2014), Canary Islands (Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, 2014), London City and Biggin Hill (2016). More recent implementations include Bogota (2017), Saint Petersburg (2017), Jeju in South Korea (2017), IST-Sabiha Gökçen and the new Istanbul airport (2018), Moscow Sheremetyevo (2018), Bergamo (2019), Tokyo Haneda (2019), Ekaterinburg (2019), Ho Chi Minh City (2019), Nur-Sultan (2019) and Shanghai – Pudong (ZSPD) (2020). Next implementation is planned, at Lisbon (April 2020) and there is a firm plan for São Paulo (September 2020).

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 point merge works - graphical representation

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.

Watch our videos to learn more

New sequencing technique for sequencing arrival traffic - Video thumbnail

New technique for sequencing arrival traffic (2016)

Optimised descents live trials at Paris Orly - Video thumbnail

Hybrid Point merge trials at Paris Orly airport (2015)

Point Merge in Paris ACC - Video thumbnail

Point Merge in Paris ACC (2011)

Point Merge System - new regulations for air traffic at Oslo Airport Gardermoen - Video thumbnail

Point Merge in Oslo (2011)