Optimised airspace users operations

Improving flight planning and prioritisation processes.

At EUROCONTROL, we work to optimise airspace user operations as part of an industrial research and validation project that helps to improve civil and military user processes and tools when indicating with air traffic management (ATM) network operations.

At the core of these advances is an improved collaborative decision‑making (CDM) process that takes into account the evolving business needs of airspace users.


Most of the benefits that the project’s solutions promise to bring improved efficiency, flexibility and cost-effectiveness for the airspace users (AU), which will be translated into potentially substantial cost savings.

Our solutions promise to bring:

  • improved airspace users flight planning and network management,
  • enhanced planning phase of the mission trajectory and
  • streamlined prioritisation processes occurring in the planning phase on arrival.

Once deployed, the solutions should allow the airspace users to prioritize their most important flights reducing the impact of ATM planning constraints on the costs of their operations.

According to the cost-benefit analysis carried out by our partners at the SESAR Joint Undertaking, this will result in potential savings of several hundreds of millions of euros over the next 20 years.


The project, part of the SESAR 2020 programme’s PJ07, launched on 1 October 2016 and since then three solutions were validated on different maturity levels with shadow-mode trials addressing collaborative decision‑making and contributing to preparation for the industrialisation and deployment of the project solutions.

The second wave of the project started in 2020. As part of it, we will develop and validate enhanced integration of airspace users trajectory definition and network management processes, mission trajectories management with integrated Dynamic Mobile Areas, and collaborative framework managing delay constraints on arrival.


The objective of this solution is to reduce the impact of ATM planning on Airspace Users’ costs of operations, by allowing them to cope better with ATM constraints and network opportunities. Among other benefits, enhancing the CDM planning ensures a better adherence to the agreed trajectory during execution, bringing a better predictability of the traffic demand. The solution should improve Airspace Users flight planning and ATM network management through improved participation of the Flight Operations Centre (FOC) in the ATM network collaborative processes. In Wave 1, the core of the AU Processes for Trajectory Definition solution has defined new features such as enriched ATFCM information and what-if functions for airspace users as well as improved CDM processes with flow managers. This solution should bring a 7% reduction of en-route delay. Some of the advanced B2B what-if services tested in this project are now deployed by EUROCONTROL Network Manager and allow AUs to develop advanced integrated decision aids for dispatchers and increase automation. In addition, the Reactive Flight Delay Criticality Indicator (FDCI) concept is mature enough for implementation. Potential benefits for airspace users are in the order of 70 M€ over 20 years.

This solution is developing a collaborative framework that will enable the integration and necessary coordination of 4D constraints (limited to arrivals management) from various stakeholders (airports, ANSPs, airspace users and EUROCONTROL Network Manager). This will ensure the continued stability and performance of the network and give the opportunity to the airspace users to prioritise their most important flights therefore reducing the impact of ATM planning constraints on the costs of their operations. The collaborative framework should enable coordination and collaboration between different ATM processes (including the User Driven Prioritisation Process - UDPP3), dealing with delay constraints on arrivals which is considered the most important contributor to capacity performance issues.

In Wave 1, the project team led by EUROCONTROL further enhanced the User Driven Prioritisation Process (UDPP) concepts designed to smoothly integrate the priorities of airspace users via collaborative processes at airports and in network demand capacity balancing (DCB) processes. The UDPP Integrated with Airport Processes significantly progressed in terms of maturity. The team delivered a prototype for a network integrated UDPP used at an Airport Operations Centre (APOC) and supported a shadow mode exercise at Zurich Airport. The validations showed that UDPP should reduce the number of missed passenger connections, and lower the cost of delay for airspace users by 40% in capacity-constrained situations.

This solution focuses on the refinement and further validation of the concept elements of Mission Trajectory (MT) and Dynamic Mobile Areas (DMAs) of types 1 and 2, together with the associated collaborative processes between relevant actors: Airspace Users, Airspace and Flow Managers, ANSPs and EUROCONTROL Network Manager.

The objective is to improve fuel efficiency and the use of airspace capacity for both civil and military users and the efficiency of airspace management by introducing more automation and increased flexibility in the civil-military coordination, as well as by enhancing the harmonisation between civil and military processes across Europe and facilitating cross-border operations.

The key improvement brought is the integration of Military demand into Collaborative Traffic Management and participation in DCB by sharing ATM related data through Improved OAT Flight Plan.

In Wave 1, the Integration of iOAT Flight Plan in the ATM Network solution made a big step towards implementation. Several elements of the iOAT Flight Plan are ready for deployment and will be part of the deployment programme called MIDI, resulting in harmonised mission trajectories integrated in the ATM network.


The Optimised airspace users operations Wave 2 project (PJ.07 W2 OAUO) is part of the SESAR 2020 research programme and it involves the following partners: EUROCONTROL, Airbus, Rizeni Letoveho Provozu Ceske Republiky Statni Podnik, Polska Agencja Zeglugi Powietrznej, Dassault Aviation, Direction des services de la navigation aerienne, Enaire, Enav, Heathrow Airport, Skyguide, Sa Suisse pour les services de la navigation aerienne civils et militaires, Thales, NATS, Zurich Airport, Letove Prevadzkove Sluzby Slovenskej Republiky - Statny Podnik, Oro Navigacija, Aéroports de Paris, Avinor, Munich Airport, Schiphol Airport, Swedavia