New EUROCONTROL Network Manager programme to integrate small and regional airports into the network successfully kicks off

TUI aircraft on approach

Small and regional airports account for around 50% of traffic across the European aviation network, with an important role to play in overall network performance. To foster network connectivity and improve airport performance as well as situational awareness, the EUROCONTROL Network Manager (NM) has launched ECRA, the European Connected Regional Airports programme, with Fraport Greece and the HCAA, the Greek air navigation service provider, partnering NM in a first implementation wave.

Kos Airport became the first to finalise the process of integrating their operational systems with the EUROCONTROL NM’s systems, and since September 2021, the NM has been processing operational information about Kos Airport operations, while the airport has been receiving updates from the NM with the most up-to-date network operational information.

A fundamental part of our digital transformation is to take advantage of the latest technology, and accommodate concepts and systems arising from SESAR research and development. I am delighted to say that in partnership with Fraport Greece, the Hellenic ANSP and our service provider Cronos we will contribute to making Kos Airport’s operational performance more efficient and punctual with the least possible impact on the environment.”

Work is ongoing with the HCAA and Fraport Greece to add 7 additional Greek airports to the programme by spring 2022 (Thessaloniki, Rhodes, Samos, Mytilene, Santorini, Mykonos and Skiathos). The ECRA programme is a proof-of-concept funded through EUROCONTROL’s contribution to SESAR’s Total Airport Management solution (PJ04), which aims to explore cost-efficient ways of connecting regional and small airports to the network. ECRA represents a win-win approach for all operational stakeholders – providing the NM with more accurate traffic data, while delivering network consolidated data and services to more network airports at a very low cost.

ECRA is a paradigm shift in relation to the role that regional airports have in the European ATM Network, allowing them to have a more proactive role, and pushing them to reach the best levels in terms of airport-network connectivity and data exchange. Cooperation is also underway to include smaller airports in France, Sweden and Poland. The project allows the Airport Operations Plan to be synchronised with the Network Operations Plan, and reinforces aircraft ground surveillance based on the use of ADS-B receivers installed at airports.

Interested in joining the ECRA programme?

If you are an airport interested in joining, please reach out to our experts.

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