EUROCONTROL research in the spotlight at the Aviation Technology, Integration and Operations Conference

The research is aimed at understanding and improving various aspects of air traffic management and airport operations while showcasing our SESAR2020 contribution.

EUROCONTROL presented five research papers at the Aviation Technology, Integration and Operations (ATIO) Conference organised by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) in Atlanta, U.S.A.

The research is aimed at understanding and improving various aspects of air traffic management and airport operations, while showcasing a part of our contribution to SESAR2020.

Our paper entitled “An extended analysis of sequencing arrivals at major European airports”, aimed at characterising how sequencing is performed using data driven analysis. It shows the spacing evolution during the last 15min of flights and reveals late ‘reactionary’ effects of back propagation of spacing variations within tight sequences.

A second paper on “Proximity versus dynamicity – an initial analysis at major European airports” aimed at characterising the evolution of flight proximity during arrival operations. It assesses the exposure to small distances and small closure times, revealing varied situations between the different airports analysed.

Future work on these two topics will extract and analyse patterns of similar situations, with a view to identify best practices and areas for improvement.

A paper on “How the geometry of arrival routes can influence sequencing” details the outcomes of a series of real-time prototyping sessions with Paris Charles de Gaulle airport controllers. The goal of this collaboration was to develop an intuitive route design that facilitates sequencing and reduces the need for vectoring. The paper details the geometric characteristics that may be considered when designing guidelines to standardise sequencing in dense and complex environments.

The “Design principles for a separation support tool allowing optimized runway delivery” paper looks at the use of a controller “spacing” tool to deliver reduced dynamic final approach pairwise and time-based wake separations. It showcases the principles used to address the challenges of aircraft separation “compression effect” and wind uncertainty. Our results support increased throughput with reduced separation infringement, while maintaining an acceptable controller workload and situation awareness.

Last, but not least, our experts presented a paper on the use of an ecological interface design to investigate the use of augmented reality tools to help with low visibility procedures used in the RETINA project. Entitled “Evaluation of augmented reality tools for the provision of tower air traffic control using an ecological interface design,“ the research confirms that Synthetic Vision (SV) and Augmented Reality (AR) can be of great help to the tower controller when conducting safe operations in fog and bad weather conditions whilst maintaining a high runway throughput.

The five papers were well received and reflect our contribution towards an increasing use of data science techniques and new technologies such as augmented reality. This research brings to light the knowhow that we contribute through our expertise and collaborative efforts to SESAR2020 and Exploratory Research part of Horizon2020.


The Aviation Technology, Integration and Operations (ATIO) Conference covers a wide range of design and operations of aircraft, air traffic management systems and complex system-to-systems connectivities to make operations smoother. This is not the first time EUROCONTROL has contributed to the event, which has the reputation for bringing together aviation professionals, practicing engineers, researchers and policy makers to explore ideas, share research and create interactive opportunities to sole the current and future challenges facing aviation.