FRA@MUAC

Free route airspace at Maastricht UAC

Accelerating flight efficiency with free route airspace.

Airspace users can fly direct routes across the entire EUROCONTROL Maastricht Upper Area Control (MUAC) airspace following the introduction of free route airspace (FRA) at night and at weekends.

We offer free route airspace between FL245 and FL660 every night between 23:00 - 05:00 (22:00 - 04:00) UTC and during weekends from Friday 23:00 (22:00) to Monday 05:00 (04:00) UTC. It operates in addition to the existing air traffic services (ATS) route network and Route Availability Document (RAD) Appendix 4 Direct Routing (DCTs).

We will implement free route airspace around the clock throughout our airspace on 5 December 2019, along with the removal of the ATS route network and any direct routings currently published via the RAD.

This is well in advance of the European Commission’s 2022 deadline to implement Free Route Airspace to realise substantial savings in flight time and emissions, bringing airspace management a step closer to trajectory-based operations.

Since 6 December 2018, free route airspace has been available Mondays through Thursdays between 23:00 - 05:00 (22:00 - 04:00) and Fridays 23:00 (22:00) through Mondays 05:00 (04:00) along with the ATS route network and RAD Appendix 4 DCTs.

On 5 December 2019, we will start 24-hour operations (H24). The ATS route network and RAD Appendix 4 DCTs will be removed.

Flight planning and ATC procedures

Within MUAC free route airspace, aircraft operators are able to flight plan direct routes freely, while obeying the corresponding times of availability:

  • from FRA Horizontal Entry Point (E), Departure Connecting Point (D) and FRA Intermediate Point (I)
  • to FRA Horizontal Exit Point (X), FRA Arrival Connecting Point (A) and FRA Intermediate Point (I)
  • by filing flight plan direct or via one or several FRA Intermediate Points.

Filing of unpublished points, defined by geographical coordinates or by bearing and distance, is not permitted in flight plans within the MUAC FRA area.

Within MUAC FRA, DCT segments shall not be planned closer than 2.5 nautical miles (NM) to the MUAC FRA lateral border.

Except for segments defined in ATS Routes, RAD Appendix 4 and Standard Instrument Departure (SID)/ Standard Instrument Arrival (STAR):

  • lateral entry and exit to/from MUAC FRA shall be planned using the published FRA Horizontal Entry and FRA Horizontal Exit points only;
  • vertical entry and exit to/from MUAC FRA shall be planned using the published FRA Departure and FRA Arrival Connecting points only;
  • the planning of DCT segments that are partially outside the vertical and lateral limits of MUAC FRA (re-entry segments) is not allowed;
  • the planning of DCT segments across the MUAC FRA border (cross border DCT) is not allowed, except to/from those FRA relevant and significant points, located outside the MUAC AoR as depicted in the MUAC FRA Index Chart.

Cross-border FRA

MUAC is part of the Functional Airspace Block Europe Central (FABEC) Free Route Airspace programme. Between June 2012 and May 2014, the Free Route Airspace Maastricht and Karlsruhe (FRAMaK) project - funded by the SESAR Joint Undertaking - conducted live trials to demonstrate cross-border free route airspace capabilities in complex, high-density airspace with positive results. The demonstration concluded that airspace users can save up to four nautical miles per flight as a result of the cross-border direct routings. A total of 466 FRAMaK direct routing options were subsequently been published in RAD Appendix 4.

In April 2019, cross-border free route airspace was also implemented in the upper airspace of Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and Sweden, managed respectively by MUAC, DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung, LFV and Naviair.