Advanced demand capacity balancing

Creating a powerful distributed network management function.

The SESAR 2020 project PJ09 addresses the performance-driven balancing of traffic demand and air traffic management (ATM) capacity in a collaborative process with all ATM service providers and AUs involved. In this context, PJ09 acts as a bridge function between a number of SESAR 2020 projects (such as PJ01, PJ04, PJ07, PJ08 and PJ18). By doing so, it ensures effective coordination of local airspace users (AUs) and ATM planning functionalities in the SESAR 2020 horizon.

Our role

EUROCONTROL leads the PJ09 project, as well as two out of the three PJ09 solutions: PJ09.01 and PJ09.03. EUROCONTROL provides 43% of the overall effort and a substantial part of the overall validation infrastructure while leading concept and architecture definition.

Our contribution is focused on:

  • ensuring global interoperability at European and worldwide level;
  • managing cross-project consistency and integrated validations with scientific rigour;
  • conducting of transversal assessments (human performance, safety, performance);
  • performing independent network impact assessments and consolidating cases to support deployment decision-making.

The SESAR 2020 advanced demand capacity balancing (DCB) project will create a powerful distributed network management function. To do so, it will rely, among other things, on SESAR layered collaborative planning, trajectory management principles and System Wide Information Management (SWIM) technology.


SESAR 1 improved the predictability and reliability of planning data, thereby reducing the Air Traffic Management (ATM) capacity held in reserve for exceptional demand-capacity imbalance scenarios. Short-term air traffic flow and capacity management (ATFCM) processes have further improved the flexibility of the Network Manager (NM) to tactically manage imbalances in the network. This resulted in a reduction in the application of ‘broad brush’ constraints and regulations. NM has developed the first step of a Collaborative Network Operations Plan (NOP) with initial integration of ATM stakeholder processes and airport operations plans (AOPs). The collaborative NOP is now a powerful tool to assist medium/short term demand capacity balancing (DCB) planning processes.

Notwithstanding that:

  • The organisation of resources across area control centres (ACCs) and the scoping of measures, from local level to full network impact assessment, need to be improved, as well as the promotion of opportunity measures over those with cost implications for airspace users;
  • The operational data shared in the NOP are still limited (in scope and time horizon), incomplete and insufficient for tactical and operational use;

Building upon SESAR 1, the dynamic sharing of operational data needs to be expanded to enable tailored real-time network performance assessment and to facilitate collaborative DCB processes. Further development of automated tools, monitoring relevant indicators to assess DCB measures and monitor execution against plans will allow seamless DCB management processes involving airspace users, alongside airport and en-route nodes. This will permit a proactive identification of constrained points in the network and the application of collaborative procedures to address the situation with the least number of trajectory changes as possible.


This project is expected to have a positive impact on:

  • Capacity, which will be increased as a result of improved accuracy of estimated times of sector entry and the use of complexity assessment of ATCO workload for the prediction of demand and sector capacities. In addition, capacity will be improved as a result of improved predictability (AOP/NOP, network supervision) and ATM resource planning, the identification of capacity opportunities and the reconciliation of multiple constraints;
  • Efficiency will be improved by the integration of INAP, facilitated by the integrated network working position (iNWP), which enables DCB-ATC messaging, DCB what-if, to support CDM, the synchronisation process as well as the interactivities between local actors, AUs and NM activities. Efficiency will largely be increased by the availability of shared real-time operational data and a rolling picture of the network situation used by stakeholders to prepare their plans and their inputs to the network CDM processes; • Cost efficiency will be increased as a consequence of more accurate demand and workload predictions and the support of the ATM resource planning and DCB decision-making by performance parameters and trade-off techniques guiding the decision-maker towards cost-effective resource planning and DCB resolution;
  • Safety and security can be improved as a result of accurate complexity and ATCO workload prediction and the availability of a shared DCB hotspot repository. It could also be boosted as a result of shared situation awareness (including meteorological phenomena) and the identification of crisis situations at regional and local levels. The high interconnection of information data flows is at the same incorporating cyber-attack risks and improving the ability to defend, detect and repair as soon as unauthorised access is detected by any of the partner systems involved.PJ09 will perform a cyber-security assessment on the AOP/NOP and B2B services involved in the DCB process to mitigate the risks;
  • Predictability is expected to improve via:  a) determination of the probable demand, the consideration of planned ATFCM measures and the consideration and processing of airspace users’ shared flight information; and b) sharing real-time operational data and a rolling picture of the network situation used by stakeholders to prepare their plans and their inputs to the network CDM processes;
  • Flexibility: The availability of real-time AOP/NOP data and monitoring tools with alert functions for critical situations will serve as an enabler for the ATM service providers and AUs to be more pro-active in managing upcoming events with the aim of minimising the adverse impact on performance;
  • Participation is achieved by enabling stakeholder collaboration earlier in the planning phase and facilitating commitment to network performance optimum and favouring transparency.


PJ09 Advanced DCB will develop and validate the following SESAR solutions:

 Solution 1 –  Network prediction and performance

This solution will develop and validate an agreed set of network performance indicators and advanced performance monitoring; demand and complexity prediction tools to improve the real-time awareness of network performances at local and regional levels to support collaborative Network Management decision-making;

Solution 2 Integrated local DCB processes

 This solution forms the core functionality of the integrated network management and extended ATC planning (INAP) process which can, and should, be decided locally. It is a logical follow-up to the SESAR 1 Local DCB toolset and includes INAP management, airspace management (ASM) integrated into DCB, reconciliation of DCB measures with local complexity management, ATC and arrival management;

Solution 3 – Collaborative network management

This solution delivers subsidiary network management based on transparency, performance targets and agreed control mechanisms. The main themes to be developed and validated are rolling NOP, network supervision, what-if impact assessment, collaborative DCB framework, reconciliation of constraints and optimisation.

Implementation status

PJ09 kicked off in November 2016. Wave 1 will be completed by 2019, to be followed by wave 2.


Deutsches Zentrum Fuer Luft - Und Raumfahrt Ev, Austro Control Osterreichische Gesellschaft Fur Zivilluftfahrt Mbh, Direction Des Services de la Navigation Aerienne, Entidad Publica Empresarial Enaire, Enav Spa, Atos Belgium, Indra Sistemas SA, Stiftelsen Sintef, Nats (En route) Public Limited Company, Heathrow Airport Limited, Finmeccanica - Spa, Skyguide, Sa Suisse pour les services de la navigation aérienne civils et militaires, Thales Air Systems SAS, Croatia Control, Croatian Air Navigation Services Ltd, Aeroports de Paris, Schiphol Nederland B.V., Stichting Nationaal Lucht- En Ruimtevaartlaboratorium, Luftfartsverket, Udaras Eitliochta Na Heireann Irish Aviation Authority, Naviair, Frequentis Ag, Hungarocontrol Magyar Legiforgalmi Szolgalat Zartkoruen Mukodo Reszvenytarsasag, Airtel Atn Limited, Saab Aktiebolag, Flughafen Munchen Gmbh, Flughafen Zurich Ag, Swedavia Ab, Avinor AS.