European Commission proposes new mandate for SESAR Joint Undertaking to support the Single European Sky

On 10/07/2013, in SESAR's Palace, by steve

kallasThe European Commission has proposed to prolong the mandate of the Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research (SESAR) Joint Undertaking (JU) for a further 8 years, until 2024. This extension shows the Commission’s strong commitment to the Single European Sky project and recognises the importance of the results that the SESAR JU has already achieved to date. The EU’s share of the funding for the extension, amounting to a maximum of 600 million Euros, will come from the Horizon 2020 programme, as part of the EU’s new Multi-Annual Financial Framework. The members of the SJU have also confirmed their commitment to the SESAR 2020 Programme, which will result in an overall budget of around 1.6 billion euros.

European Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for transport, said: “The benefits of a truly European air traffic management are clearer than ever. But without the technology developed by the SESAR JU, we would not be able to make the Single European Sky – with fewer delays and less pollution – a reality. And exporting the technology developed here will put us in a strong position in this major sector of global air transport.”

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TITAN extension – what is happening?

On 26/02/2013, in TITAN, by steve

As reported earlier, the TITAN project has been extended by three months and the extra time is being used to conduct additional dissemination activities. Among these, a more detailed video on the TITAN concept is being produced and a publication entitled TITAN The Book is being written. This latter takes the reader from the early days of collaborative decision making (CDM) through a description of the new air traffic management environment’s most important features to a description of the TITAN concept and its practical application. The style is more popular than scientific and the intention is to make CDM and TITAN related information in the wider sense of the word accessible also to readers not directly concerned with this particular field of air traffic management.

A series of workshops have also been organized in Munich, Cologne, Budapest, Milan and Brussels with the aim of helping the industry learn more about what TITAN is and what additional benefits it can bring to airports what have already implemented Airport CDM (A-CDM).

Watch this space for a report on the conclusions of the workshops and access to the news video and a link to download TITAN The Book.

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TITAN extended by three months

On 01/02/2013, in TITAN, by steve

Although the TITAN project was to have ended in November 2012, we are now happy to announce that a three months extension was granted by the commission. The original aims had been reached on time and all the deliverables were completed, however, some of the originally agreed budget was still available and it was decided to use this money for additional dissemination activities.

Partners were asked to come up with innovative ideas and here is what is now being planned:

TITAN comes to you: under this heading, a number of workshops will be held on location (E.g Brussels, Budapest, Cologne), enabling CDM experts and other interested partners to learn about TITAN without having to travel themselves.

Articles and scientific papers: An article will be submitted to the Journal of Airport Management and a paper will be written for the ATM Seminar 2013.

TITAN The Book: In this little pocketbook, TITAN will be described in a popular and easy to read style, putting everything into the wider airport collaborative management (A-CDM) context and the future air traffic management environment. The intention is to create a small reference work that will be usable as guidance for A-CDM and TITAN implementation questions well beyond the lifetime of the TITAN project itself.

TITAN The Movie: Based on the original TITAN project video, a new movie will be created that covers the innovative features of TITAN in more detail. The service orientation, trajectory based operations and the like will be explained showing how these features apply to TITAN.

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2013 – Another year of failures?

On 02/01/2013, in Viewpoint, by steve

It is customary to look back at the end of the year to take stock and then to make all kinds of promises to ourselves for the new year… Promises that we seldom keep.

European air traffic management had a tumultuous year culminating in grumbling by the airspace users on a previously unheard scale and indeed language. The FAB’s were criticized fiercely, air/ground digital link services will be late and the much hyped new version of the SESAR Master-plan barely made it…

So, what promises will Europe make to its long suffering airspace users for 2013? Words are only words of course and we all know the value of New Year promises… But then what can we realistically expect from 2013?

To understand 2012, we do need to go back a little further in history. For the better part of two decades, Europe has had air traffic management improvement projects that did generate new ideas, new solutions which even managed to evolve as traffic patterns and aircraft capabilities were evolving… on paper. Because in reality, very little of the new ideas were put into every-day operational use. The projects failed one after the other. EATCHIP, ATM2000+ went down the drain and the best proof of their failure is the existence of SESAR. Had the previous projects achieved their objectives, there would never have been a need for a monster project like SESAR.

It was of course very convenient to blame EUROCONTROL for the failures and subsequently the only institution in Europe with real ATM knowledge was gutted and basically made all but irrelevant.
Other than a few mavericks, yours truly included, nobody spoke up to tell the world the real reason for all those project failures: that it were recalcitrant States and ANSPs that actually not only threw the wrench into the works but also kept it there to make sure change was all but impossible.

Click here to read the full article

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Airline industry condemns EU Member States on lack of progress on FABs to date

On 04/12/2012, in FAB News, by steve

The Association of European Airlines (AEA), the European Low Fares Airline Association (ELFAA), the European Regions Airline Association (ERA) and the International Air Carrier Association (IACA) are united in condemning EU Member States for their reluctance to properly implement Functional Airspace Blocks (FABs), a key ingredient for the successful delivery of Single European Sky II (SES II).

Member States have failed to honour their obligations under the Single European Sky Regulation to properly implement FABs by the stipulated deadline of 4 December 2012. They have had eight years to comply with the Regulation, yet they have not moved much further than the mere creation of FABs.

The intent of the legislation with respect to FABs was to drive defragmentation of European airspace, enabling significantly enhanced efficiency, while delivering cost-effectiveness improvements. The current situation of individual Air Navigation Service Providers in the 27 Member States around Europe operating as independent service providers is extremely inefficient – to the extent that inefficiencies alone cost the industry over €5 billion every year. Such fragmentation and resultant inefficiency further cause an unnecessary 13 million tonnes of CO2 to be emitted per year, equivalent to 10% of current aviation emissions in EU airspace.

The Heads of the airline associations stated:

“The current situation is scandalous. It is not enough to create Functional Airspace Blocks in name only. FABs must be demonstrably business-driven, generating tangible operational efficiencies, significant cost savings and environmental benefits.”

Click here to read the full article

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If the European Commission’s Implementing Rule is not enough to jump-start data link, what is?

On 14/11/2012, in SES News, by steve

At the recent meeting of the Project Steering Group on Data Link, it was revealed that some States will not be able to meet the 7 February 2013 date by which “all LINK Region ANSPs shall have implemented an operational compliant system”. One State actually reported that they will not be ready before 2019!

The Data Link Services Implementing Rule (DLS-IR) was adopted on 16 January 2009 by the European Commission and published as EC Reg. No. 29/2009. The DLS-IR is legally binding and applies directly to Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) and to Aircraft Operators.

The main deadlines of the IR are as follows:

1 January 2011 – After this date all new aircraft operating above FL 285 shall be delivered with a compliant system.

7 February 2013 – By this date all LINK Region ANSPs shall have implemented an operational compliant system.

5 February 2015 – By this date all aircraft operating above FL 285 shall have been retrofitted with a compliant system.

5 February 2015 – By this date all EU Region ANSPs shall have implemented an operational compliant system.

31 December 2017 – Aircraft which are at least 20 years old and which will cease operation in the concerned airspace before 31 December 2017 are exempt.

1 January 2014 – Aircraft with individual airworthiness certificate before this date that are equipped with Future Air Navigation System (FANS) are exempt for the lifetime of the aircraft. Aircraft entering into service after 1 January 2014 shall comply with the rule.

1 January 2014 – New transport type State aircraft should comply with the rule if equipped with non-military data link.

Since 1 January 2011, all new aircraft are being delivered with VDL Mode 2/ATN compliant avionics and apparently, like so often in the past, they will be carrying their gear and burn the investment for no good reason at all, since the ground capability will not be in place.

Click here to read the full article

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The Single European Sky: 10 years on and still not delivering

On 15/10/2012, in SES News, by steve

We bring you here, in full and unedited, the speech of Mr. Siim Kallas, European Commission Vice-President and Commissioner for Transport delivered at the Single European Sky conference at Limassol, Cyprus, on 11 October 2012. As Editor of Roger-Wilco, I would only like to add a few words: how many times have we warned that things were not going the way they should???? Now read what the EC had to say!

Ladies and gentlemen
Almost one year ago, I sounded an alarm bell about the poor progress made towards
achieving the Single European Sky. That is the reason why I chose a particular title for
my speech today: “10 years on and still not delivering”.
The Single Sky is the logical partner to Europe’s single transport market on the ground.
This flagship project is a concrete example of where Europe can make a difference to its
citizens by raising capacity, improving safety and cutting costs.
This was the original ambition more than a decade ago. Frankly, we remain a long way
from creating a single European airspace. The project is still not delivering – but I believe
that we have the tools to make it a success.

Air traffic control is still far too expensive. We are still hampered by a high level of
delays. This is the situation today, mirroring the same situation last year.

So where do we stand today?

Click here to read the full article

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TITAN Final Workshop Announced

On 27/07/2012, in Events, by steve

The final TITAN Workshop will be held on 21 November 2012 in Palma de Mallorca. Details of the workshop will be promulgated in October, however, if you are interested in participating, please send a message with your details by clicking here.

The TITAN project has analyzed the current turnaround process to detect gaps and to study the influence of external actors, especially the effect of land-side processes. The Advanced Turnaround Operational Concept originally defined by the project has been modeled, validated and updated in the course of last year. Using this new concept, a Decision-Making Support Tool is being developed to better manage the incidents that may occur during the turnaround process.  All this progress will be shown during the Final Workshop together with the results of the CBA that is currently being carried out.

You can read more about TITAN here.

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European Air Traffic Management – A historic clash of concept and politics

On 05/07/2012, in SESAR's Palace, by steve

Although you would never know it from reading the rather upbeat communications from the Functional Airspace Block (FAB) and SESAR folks, ATM in Europe is heading towards some major turbulence. That the EC’s Single Sky Committee very nearly managed to kick the deadline of meeting the Single Sky (SES) high-level goals a further 13 years into the future (to 2033!!!) is only one indication of how the whole structure is creaking under the relentless drive of the backward thinkers hell bent on keeping things from happening.

But there is more. What about a collision between a black hole and a complete galaxy? Astronomers amongst you will say this means complete annihilation for the galaxy. Now replace black hole with FAB and the galaxy with SESAR. I am not kidding!

Various high level managers at the European air traffic management organizations hasten to point out that SESAR has always been envisaged as being based on the FAB idea, that they are completely compatible with each other. Quite apart from the not negligible fact that this is simply not true, such claims also show just how little some people seem to understand the difference between the FAB idea and what SESAR represents.

What SESAR is aiming to introduce is a set of paradigm changing concepts, among them Trajectory Based Operations (TBO). I will not go into the details of TBO in this article, if you are interested, read more about it here and here. Let it suffice to say that we left out any mention of FABs in the original SESAR concept of operations for a very good reason. The kind of fragmentation represented by the FABs is not only not needed under the TBO environment of SESAR, it is a hindrance that can potentially kill any hope for true TBO.

What are the Functional Airspace Blocks or FABs? They are most certainly not an air traffic management concept or method of working or even an idea that would make things work better by definition. FABs are in fact a sad admission that Europe did not succeed in creating a continent-wide air traffic management environment that would have come anywhere near satisfying the users’ needs. So, in order to make a little progress, some poor soul somewhere came up with what might appear to be a pragmatic approach. If Europe’s Air Navigation Service Providers as a whole cannot be made to work together properly, lets beat them into a few small groups, focused around newly defined blocks of airspace that have similar user requirements in the hope that these groupings will be more effective in working together in a sensible way.

So, for starters, FABs are not an ATM concept but a political construct aimed at getting the ANSPs to cooperate properly at least on a group by group basis.

Click here to read the full article

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An Air Traffic Management Master Plan with Question Marks

On 27/06/2012, in SESAR's Palace, by steve

If you follow European air traffic management developments, you will have noticed in the news that the ATM Master Plan is undergoing a significant update and the SESAR ATM Master Plan portal promises to have new information on this by mid-2012. About now that is…

There was less discussion about interesting events surrounding the Master Plan update. The original draft updated ATM Master Plan was so poor, the airlines at first proposed that IATA should not support this new version.

As we all know, flatly refusing to support such a cornerstone document does not happen lightly and there must have been serious shortcomings to upset the airspace users so much. Of course it says a lot about the current environment that a Master Plan update, even if only as a draft, can be released at all while containing information that has the potential to rattle the airspace users to this degree.

But what were the real problems as seen by the users?

Let’s first start with a bit of history. As you will see, the background facts are slightly more somber than the rather upbeat news communicated over the official channels during the Master Plan update process.

Click here to read the full article

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