Data collection service

Keeping our view of the airspace situation reliable and accurate.

The EUROCONTROL Network Manager relies on consistent flight data to maintain the picture of a given flight and its impact on flow management. This is made possible by a centralised flight plan collection service, powered by the Integrated Initial Flight Plan Processing System (IFPS) and the Enhanced Tactical Flow Management System (ETFMS).


We ensure the successful collection, processing, enhancement and distribution of this data to air traffic service providers (ANSPs). This allows us to monitor and respond to traffic demand and airspace capacity. At the same time, it empowers our stakeholders to take the best decision about how to use the available airspace.

Our service makes data collection consistent and reliable, giving all airspace users a reliable, network-wide situational overview.


We extract data from a variety of sources, including:

  • flight plan data for traffic demand information; we obtain this from IFPS flight plans and associated messages;
  • real-time/airborne flight data updates made in the ETFMS:
    • FDI – FAA Departure Information;
    • FSA – First System Activation;
    • CPR – Correlated Position Reports;
    • APR – Aircraft Operator Position Report.
  • airport Departure Planning Information (DPI).

Flight plan data

We distribute flight plans to air navigation service providers. The first part of the process begins when a pilot submits a flight plan (setting out the exact intentions of a flight) to the IFPS. The system then sends an acknowledgement that the flight is allowed to operate under IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) as GAT (General Air Traffic – that is, non-military) in the Initial Flight Plan Zone (IFPZ).

Once a flight plan has been acknowledged, the IFPS monitors the status of the flight until it has been completed.

The IFPS also sends a copy of the flight plan to the ETFMS, where the flight is analysed for any relevant air traffic flow management (ATFM) measures which may be in force during that flight.

Data is automatically shared by the two systems if any updates are made to the flight status as a result of:

  • information received by the IFPS in the form of flight plans and associated messages;
  • flight update messages (FSA, CPR and others) sent by the ETFMS.

Airport and ATC data

In addition to flight plan data, we collect surveillance information and real-time flight data from airports and air traffic control centres. We then enhance this data and re-distribute it to other stakeholders.

This improves the overall flight monitoring process in all phases of flight. It helps airspace users’ fleet planning, improves slot allocation calculations, it enhances the air traffic predictability and overall the air traffic flow and capacity management (ATFCM), while helping to reduce environmental impacts.

The flight trajectory is updated in real time with:

  • IFPS flight plan update messages, such as delay (DLA,) change (CHG), departure (DEP) and arrival (ARR) messages;
  • Departure Planning Information (DPI) from CDM (Collaborative Decision Making) and Advanced ATC Tower airports, in the pre-flight phase;
  • First System Activation (FSA) messages from the ANSPs when aircraft take off or enter other ANSPs’ areas of responsibility;
  • Airborne updates, such as:
    • Airborne Flight Plan (AFP) messages from an ACC (air traffic control centre)
    • Aircraft Operator Position Reports (APR) data from participating airlines, giving updates on aircraft departing from aerodromes outside the NM area of operations but with destinations inside the area;
  • FAA Departure Planning Information (FDI) provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (USA);
  • Correlated Position Reports (CPRs) based on ANSPs’ real-time surveillance data and spaced-based ADS-B surveillance data. ETFMS currently receives CPRs from most countries in the NM area of operations. The Integration of space-based ADS-B real-time surveillance data covers the traffic inside NM area, the adjacent airspace around NM area and the long haul traffic 6h before it reaches NM area.

We continuously improve the quality and accuracy of our data; there is a growing number of both airports and ANSPs using our data collection service.

Airborne updates are available mainly in areas with CPR and FSA coverage. For flights outside the NM area of operations, work is ongoing to extend our collaboration to capture flight updates.

ADS-B, CPR, FDI FSA and FAM operational status


Information about the message description, their purpose, transmission events and procedures for testing and evaluation can be found in the Flight Progress Messages (FPM) document.

Learn more

Automatic dependent surveillance – broadcast


Data distribution service


Enhanced tactical flow management system