Exploring the benefits of dynamic airspace configuration

29 March 2018

EUROCONTROL, together with ENAV and its linked third party Techno Sky, recently tested the applicability of Advanced Airspace Management (AAM) over the Italian West and East sectors of Milano ACC. Initial findings show that managing airspace in a more dynamic way can increase capacity, while reducing delays and emissions.

This test is part of the SESAR Joint Undertaking’s Advanced Airspace Management (AAM) project (PJ08), lead by EUROCONTROL. The goal is to develop a Dynamic Airspace Configuration (DAC) concept, which would allow for Sector Design and Dynamic Sector Configuration based on predicted traffic. This will allow Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) to organise, plan and manage airspace configurations with enough flexibility to respond to changes in traffic demand, unexpected events and updates in airspace reservation.

SESAR’s PJ08 partners used EUROCONTROL’s Research Network Strategic Tool (R-NEST) tool to define the structure of the target sectorisation and obtaining new optimised configurations. The output better suited to the airspace demand while efficiently balancing controller workload.

Simulated dynamic airspace configurations

These new configurations were then compared against reference scenarios with operations carried out in current airspace conditions. They showed improvements in capacity and efficiency when using dynamic airspace techniques since controllers’ time and availability could be better managed.

The test results show that dynamic sectorisation and Airspace Reservation/Restriction (ARES) management can generate quantifiable benefits for the network. To further improve the computation of the configuration flight re-routing when activating Dynamic Mobile Areas (DMA), controllers provided valuable input, insights and ideas.

Additional validations will take place are scheduled for 2018 as part of the PJ08 Advanced Airspace Management (AAM) project.

This project has received funding from the SESAR Joint Undertaking under the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 731796.

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