Standardising SWIM objectives: a first step in future-proofing air traffic management

Three new EUROCONTROL standards, describing the information services, defining the exchanged information and the technical infrastructure on which the services are implemented, are now available for SWIM implementers.

System Wide Information Management (SWIM) is a key enabler for a number of operational improvements that we collectively see as essential in future-proofing the ATM system.

SWIM removes barriers between stakeholders, allowing for the smooth exchange of business-critical information in an increasingly complicated digital environment. SWIM enables:

  • seamless information access and exchange between all ATM providers and users;
  • the information exchange with the emerging and fast-growing Unmanned Aircraft Systems Traffic Management (UTM) community.

The EU Pilot Common Project Regulation identifies a set of improvements to the ATM system that need to be implemented before 2024. These improvements rely on the removal of any hindrance to the information exchange between stakeholders.

To help achieve this, EUROCONTROL has developed three technical specifications that form the foundation of SWIM’s information services. These three specifications make it easier for airlines, ANSPs, MET Service Providers, the Network Manager and other key players in European aviation to provide, describe and consume information services in a standardised manner.

Together with SWIM Common Components - such as a Services Registry and a supporting Public Key Infrastructure -, the SWIM specifications form core elements of SWIM. But more importantly, they will allow implementers to have the right information at the right place and at the right time in a standardised way – while using mainstream IT at a fraction of the cost of traditional, dedicated ATM information exchange technologies.

The three specifications were developed with external and internal stakeholders; they were subject to a formal stakeholder consultation process between May and November 2017.

We had overwhelming stakeholder appreciation and buy-in for the specifications in the consultation period. This makes us confident that the first concrete steps towards standardising SWIM-based information exchanges are going in the right direction and that they are what stakeholders need for planning and implementing their system changes.

DSNA’s Stéphane Dubet, Project Lead of the INEA/CEF Implementation Project on SWIM Governance, observed: “Standardisation is part of the activities to support the deployment of SWIM in Europe. It is indeed a key element for several SWIM objectives such as interoperability and, together with the appropriate Governance, is creating trust in SWIM and supporting its implementation. It is also the start of a new stage where SWIM conformance is assessed in Europe on a sound and shared basis - the minimum requirements defined in the three EUROCONTROL Standards.”

The three specifications are:

EUROCONTROL Specification for SWIM Service Description, which:

  • sets out requirements for describing information services;
  • defines the minimum set of elements a service description has to contain to make it searchable and useful.

EUROCONTROL specification for SWIM Information Definition, which:

  • contains requirements for information definitions;
  • contributes to the semantic interoperability of information.

EUROCONTROL Specification for SWIM Technical Infrastructure (TI) Yellow Profile, which:

  • describes requirements for system interfaces (e.g. protocols);
  • sets out requirements for IT infrastructure capabilities to facilitate the reliable, secure and efficient exchange of information.