At EUROCONTROL, we are leading a digital network management services project to improve network traffic predictability and shared complexity representation for all demand capacity balancing (DCB), dynamic airspace configuration, integrated network management, air traffic control planning (INAP) and collaborative network performance management actors.
Digital network management services
Creating a powerful distributed network management function and enabling a more flexible response to traffic demand and regional/local performance objectives.
The project focuses on improving and sharing the local and regional air traffic intelligence to:
- optimise the use of airspace capacity,
- improve air traffic controller (ATCO) productivity,
- reduce delays,
- improve predictability and
- improve service quality for airspace users and passengers.
In collaboration with our partners, we are developing three solutions to achieve the goal of creating a powerful distributed network management function and enabling a more flexible response to traffic demand and regional/local performance objectives.
This solution aims to improve the use of airspace capacity for both civil and military users by increasing the granularity and the flexibility in the airspace configuration within ANSPs’ areas of responsibility. It will address the integration of concepts and procedures to allow flexible sectorisation to be dynamically modified based on demand. This includes potential impact assessment for ATCO licenses, international boundaries and IOP and A/G multi-datalink communication capabilities.
In Wave 1, the project teams have successfully validated the viability of the required technologies and operational processes for Dynamic Airspace Configuration (one of the key solutions aiming to bring the most significant airspace capacity improvements) and INAP. However, the validations were conducted separately and only for some of the basic elements proposed in the operational concept. Wave 2 will integrate both concepts and develop a DAC tool fully integrated with INAP, which takes into account workload and complexity values.
This solution aims to improve the quality of the pre-tactical traffic forecast to allow extending the planning in pre-flight phase for all network stakeholders. It will address this challenge by further integrating the local tools from airspace users, airports and ANSPs (FMP/INAP) with the EUROCONTROL Network Manager in a rolling and dynamic process. It will also provide Traffic Demand Prediction enhanced with AI/ML modelling through use of advanced data science techniques to improve the predicted flight data (PFD) in the pre-tactical and early D-day before flight plans or extended flight plans (EFPL) are filed.
In the tactical phase, the prediction of imbalances or DCB constraints is influenced by traffic complexity in addition to traffic demand and capacity that are the basis in pre-tactical phase. This solution aims to consolidate the outcome of local traffic complexity assessments via agreed common shareable complexity indicator to improve the network or the regional complexity assessment. It will also further improve and validate the use of probabilistic occupancy count algorithm developed in Wave 1.
In addition, this solution aims at improving the accuracy of the network traffic demand and traffic load in the Extended ATC Planning (EAP) timeframe to support very short term, airborne and arrival DCB measures by exploring the integration of two data sources in the Network Manager traffic prediction: INAP/EAP intentions and Extended Projected Profile.
On the Network Performance Management side, the project team will further develop and validate network states prediction algorithm (developed in Wave 1) used to anticipate the emergence of performance degradation in identified areas within the network. They will continue the validation of shareable performance indicators and monitoring functions, which enable decision makers to drill down shortfalls and opportunities in their operations and encourage network collaboration to benefit of the overall network performance.
By developing the Network Performance Management Dashboard, this solution enables the EUROCONTROL Network Manager to build a network performance view allowing focusing on areas of particular interest subject to performance degradations.
In addition, as part of Network Resilience Management the team will validate the transition from local to regional measures in critical operation conditions, with a focus on the impact on current local and network procedures.
Digital Network Management Services Wave 2 project (PJ.09 W2 DNMS) is part of the SESAR 2020 research programme and it involves the following partners: EUROCONTROL, Polska Agencja Zeglugi Powietrznej, Austro Control, Croatia Control, Luftfartsverket, NAVIAIR, DSNA, ENAIRE, ENAV, INDRA, Sintef, skyguide, Thales, Airbus, Rizeni Letoveho Provozu Ceske Republiky, Letove Prevadzkove Sluzby Slovenskej Republiky, Oro Navigacija, Irish Aviation Authority, Airtel and Saab.
This project has received funding from the SESAR Joint Undertaking under the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 874463.
The project activities are based on two EUROCONTROL-led projects as part of SESAR 2020's first wave:
- Advanced Demand Capacity Balancing (PJ09) addressed 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;
- Advanced Airspace Management (PJ08) developed a dynamic airspace configuration (DAC) function including dynamic mobile areas based on improved traffic prediction that should be one of the processes for matching capacity to traffic demand and meeting performance objectives. The DAC concept allows sector design and dynamic sector configuration based on predicted traffic, including user-preferred trajectories in a complex free route environment.
The main achievement of these two projects is that all of the solutions have attained a feasibility maturity level. As part of the second wave of SESAR research, our main goal is to further develop selected solutions to the final maturity level in the R&D lifecycle and bring them closer to deployment. For example, eCASA slot allocation improvement validated in Wave 1 has reached the integration maturity level and is currently under preparation for deployment by EUROCONTROL Network Manager.