SESAR members demonstrated the first multi-vendor collaboration in compliance with the SESAR Virtual Centre concept on 4 February 2016 at several European sites and the Frequentis headquarters in Vienna.
The demonstration is an important milestone in air traffic management modernisation since it marks progress towards greater service orientation, interoperability, service provider independence and remote service provision.
The demonstration, which was organised by the project partners EUROCONTROL, NATS, and skyguide in cooperation with SkySoft-ATM and Frequentis, presented a number of open standard service interfaces in various multi-vendor scenarios. Services including surveillance, correlation, flight data distribution, flight data management, coordination and transfer were demonstrated through remotely-connected sites located in Brétigny (EUROCONTROL), Fareham (NATS) and Geneva (skyguide), which illustrated how separate sites will work collaboratively across different flight sectors.
The demonstration shows the feasibility of the SESAR Virtual Centre concept, meaning the decoupling of the ATM data service providers (ADSPs) from the air traffic service units (ATSUs) through open and standardised service interfaces. The services provided by ADSPs cover all the data needed by ATSUs (including ATM and voice data) for en-route, approach and tower domains, depending on the ATSUs.
In addition, the demonstration showed how collaboration is possible on a single platform using services based on system-wide information management (SWIM) applications. The main focus is on the controller working position itself, with Frequentis acting as an access point and broker.
This SESAR Virtual Centre concept improves the common provision of ATM functionalities in a manner that increases flexibility to organise operations between ATSUs and enables multiple ATSUs to be perceived as a single system from an airspace user’s perspective. These improvements enable an overall cost efficiency of the system.
“To be involved in the world-first demonstration of a ‘virtual centre’ is very exciting. While there is still work to do before this concept could become operational, the benefits to our customers of cross-border service provision around greater flexibility and resilience are obvious," Simon Daykin NATS Chief Architect said.
“To create real benefits for their customers, European Air Navigation Services need to foster a much needed, technology-driven paradigm shift. The Air Traffic Service Units have to support common operational requirements, capabilities of operating service delegation, a performance-driven approach and an enhanced cooperation among service providers. With such programmes and milestones we are progressing in the right direction," Philippe Chauffoureaux at skyguide summed up.
“This demonstration is setting the target for future global, interoperable and high-performing ATM to deliver safe, cost-efficient and environmentally responsible operations, systems and services," Michael Holzbauer, Director of European ATM Programs at Frequentis, concluded.