As a co-founder of the SESAR Joint Undertaking and major partner in the ambitious SESAR 2020 programme, EUROCONTROL is heavily involved in many SESAR 2020 projects either as lead, as a major participant, or as a contributor – with considerable cross-coordination and inter-project linkages.
PLANTA, or the “Prototype of Local And Network Tool for ATFCM”, to give it its full name, is a great example of interdisciplinary research with a real capacity to deliver operational improvements. Developed within the framework of SESAR 2020 projects PJ07, PJ08, PJ09 and PJ24, PLANTA aims to help stakeholders fast-track R&D results into deployment.
It draws on the capabilities of the B2B Web Services offered by the EUROCONTROL Network Manager (NM) to allow ANSPs’ Flow Managers (FMPs) to evaluate the effect of new operational functions and features, for instance allowing new ATFCM measures to be assessed before they are applied them to actual traffic. The FMPs can now fine-tune the parameters of these new measures to maximise the positive network effect – an innovation that could potentially save thousands of delay minutes.
PLANTA demonstrates a number of advanced functions, such as to:
- monitor their traffic situation based on different count models including weighting for complexity, probability and historical load
- simulate scenarios and measures for pre-tactical and tactical operations, optimising the efficiency of these measures, and coordinating between FMPs and the EUROCONTROL Network Manager, but also with ATC and airspace users.
- visualise the impact of measures at local and regional level, and compare and analyse the possible solutions
- use probabilistic counts to absorb the variability of traffic from planning to execution
- perform trend analysis, count and flight list differences, and monitor the overall network traffic situation
- use experimental KPIs to monitor performance at airport, local, and regional level.
PLANTA’s prototype development approach allows fast and incremental delivery, with EUROCONTROL experts regularly offering demos and workshops of the tool to flow managers, supervisors, developers and managers at ANSPs. This has led to them further developing their own local operational products, some of which have also resulted in the EUROCONTROL NM innovating new services that have been added to the NM catalogue and implemented in new NM releases, thanks to PLANTA’s fast development framework which limits the effort and time spent in developing proofs of concept.