Together for better airspace management

EUROCONTROL welcomes the 1st FABEC Airspace Management Cell workshop. Dijana Trenevska and Olivier Mrowicki from EUROCONTROL's Network Manager Directorate report.

An important part of FABEC activities aims at constantly improving the operational cooperation between the Airspace Management Cells (AMCs) of its component States.

AMCs are responsible for the daily allocation of their respective national airspace either to military training, or to civil use. The accuracy and reactivity of their work has a direct impact on the availability of airspace and on the fluidity of traffic, especially across borders, and this is even more sensitive during the summer period.

The EUROCONTROL Network Manager’s Operations Planning unit has been supporting the FABEC Joint Flexible Use of Airspace (FUA) Task Force since 2013 to enhance procedure harmonisation and improve the efficiency of cross-border airspace management in the core area. In this context, a FABEC AMC Training and Qualification Manual is being developed to consolidate a common understanding and team culture among all FABEC airspace managers. This manual foresees the organisation of periodic workshops to address common operational issues and foster the human factor in inter-AMC cooperation in order to achieve better airspace performance.

Under the NM '7 measures' action plan devised after summer 2018 to tackle capacity, it was decided to initiate engagements in airspace management and accelerate some of the activities that had initially been envisaged for the longer term. One of those activities, also in the context of the FABEC AMC Training and Qualifications work, was the organisation of FABEC AMC workshops facilitated by EUROCONTROL.

The first such workshop took place recently over two days. On the first day, airspace managers presented their daily activities and challenges, and visited the NMOC (NM Operations Centre) where, by aggregating their national building blocks, the European Airspace Use Plan is built and distributed every day. An informal evening event was designed to further foster communication and build trust. On the second day, dedicated working sessions were conducted and their outcome reported in a plenary session to identify possible improvements and share best practices.

The outcome? All participants were highly supportive, stressing the significant added value this AMC workshop had brought to them, and they especially appreciated the opportunity to meet and exchange views face-to-face with partners who had been, sometimes for many years, only an email address or a voice at the other end of the telephone.

As a main conclusion, the concept has clearly been validated, and similar events will be organised regularly, as such cooperative initiatives promise to deliver better ASM performance between the FABEC AMCs, and with the NM.

Olivier Mrowicki & Dijana Trenevska

Participants at the 1st FABEC Airspace Management Cell workshop