Monitoring data link performance for optimal airspace usage

13 December 2017

Building on the SJU ELSA study recommendations and in response to the European Commission, the Network Manager is now responsible for monitoring data link performance in Europe’s air traffic management (ATM) network.

Representatives from all ATM stakeholders engage in a collaborative decision-making process conducted in a consultation group, especially formed for this purpose. Known as the Data link Performance Monitoring Group, or the DPMG, the group decides on what to monitor and which types of report should be published.

The DPMG reports to the Network Management Board and the Single Sky Committee via the Director Network Manager.

The DPMG’s main activities are to:

  • Publish regular performance monitoring reports, based on independent measurement and computation/analysis carried out by the Network Manager;
  • Carry out, on request, ad-hoc performance analysis reports for specific stakeholders (e.g. aircraft manufacturers, avionics manufacturers, Air Navigation Service Providers, Communication Service Providers, etc.);
  • Make forecasts of future demand and, in consequence, estimate the future capacity needed for data link communications and related spectrum;
  • Maintain a database of the data link avionics installed on board aircraft operating in Europe and the management of a ‘white list’ on behalf of some ANSPs. The white list defines which aircraft ANSPs allow to logon to use data link in their airspace;
  • Make initial investigations into the causes of poor performance.

Could do better

The first performance reports indicate that the datalink infrastructure needs major enhancement before it can meet the required performance levels. However, the Network Manager has observed a significant improvement in the datalink infrastructure performance of late. The Provider Abort rate is at an historically low value of just under five Provider Aborts per 100 hours of CPDLC (Controller-Pilot Data Link Communications) usage (against a target value of one).

The Network Manager therefore invites all stakeholders to continue their efforts so as to make the improvements expected of the Network.

New generation aircraft, lots more data

Recent NM stakeholder consultations show that there is risk of a significant increase in the data transmitted by the new generation of aircraft, such as the A320neo in the short-term.
Given this fact, the Network Manager plans to reinforce its links with the Aircraft Operators and aircraft manufacturers to determine the optimum usage for different communication options for Airline Operation Communications (AOC) and Air Traffic Control (ATC). Together, they will aim at a more optimal sharing of capacity and so enhance the performance of the CNS infrastructure, mainly in the area of voice and data communications (ATS versus AOC communication).

A broader overview

Now with responsibility for the Radio Frequency Function and Datalink Performance Monitoring - mandates given to it by the European Commission -, the Network Manager is broadening its overview on ATM infrastructure performance.

Using independent network measures and fostering relationships with ATM stakeholders, the Network Manager is in a position to make recommendations to regulatory bodies in order to optimise the infrastructure.

Related news