CNS infrastructure evolution opportunities

An economic assessment on behalf of the CNS Advisory Group

Within the support that we provide to a number of key European Aviation initiatives, EUROCONTROL experts gathered together to prepare an economic assessment of current CNS evolution opportunities.

This document is the outcome of the work initially developed by EUROCONTROL/NM on behalf of the CNS Advisory Group nominated by the SES High Level Group, and further refined based upon the Group’s comments. The assessment estimates the potential net savings coming from rationalising current CNS infrastructure within the European ATM Network. Building upon previous economic assessments – themselves based on substantial stakeholder involvement, it consolidates results for the SES and ECAC Areas over the period 2021-2040 and considers the latest Regulatory Developments and the CNS roadmap in the ATM Master Plan.

The assessment is the work of CNS and economic experts, whose analysis has incorporated the most recently available data about the numbers of CNS facilities currently deployed.

Instead of considering a patchwork of National CNS MONs (Minimal Operational Networks), a European perspective has been applied which recognises that facilities located in a State can provide services in neighbouring States. Therefore, this assessment gives a first estimate of the potential cumulative benefits to be realised through decommissioning unnecessarily redundant CNS infrastructure across the pan-European ATM network.

It must be stressed that the assumptions about the reduced number of facilities in the CNS MONs that were used to estimate potential savings are based on theoretical scenarios for decommissioning that remain to be assessed – and eventually modified – by civil and military stakeholders and authorities outside the Advisory Group.

There are immediate quick wins available

The report shows that, for the SES Area, there are immediate potential savings of roughly €139 million for RP3 (€132 million in NPV). To put things in perspective, this is approximately equivalent to savings of up to 3.3% of the CNS joint total costs for the SES Charging Zones forecasted for RP3.

Strategic value of this initiative to realise the SESAR ambition

By 2030, the expected savings for the SES Area grow steadily reaching an aggregated nominal value of €543 million or €478 million discounted. Extending the period of study up to 2040, we would be reaching nominal savings of €1.4 billion or €1.1 billion discounted. Linking with the SESAR Performance Ambition envisaged in the Master Plan, the calculated savings would contribute to reducing the ANS cost by approximately €6 per flight in 2035.

VOR decommissioning and SUR optimisation drive the biggest part of the savings

The direct CNS infrastructure-related savings available to ANSPs from CNS rationalisation are predominantly for Navigation and Surveillance. The savings in the communication domain coming from the use of internet protocols based network technologies for ground/ground communications, are comparatively very small.

For the SES Area, three types of equipment drive the generation of savings. VOR, SSR Mode A/C and Mode S jointly account for €924 million (83%) of the projected total NPV.

Results are robust notwithstanding worst-case tests…

This study also includes a sensitivity analysis in which a number of additional tests have been undertaken to cater for uncertainty in the results and scenarios. These indicate that the project risk is low. Even using the most pessimistic combination of scenarios and inputs suggested by CNS infrastructure experts, the final Net Present Value of the proposed initiative remains strongly positive.

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CNS infrastructure evolution opportunities