Airbus officially became a full member of the SESAR air traffic management modernization program on Friday, when it signed an agreement that marked what it described as the actual start of program. Honeywell also signed up as a program partner on the same day, and is investing approximately $56 million to define concepts, develop technology and demonstrate operational scenarios.
SESAR (Single European Sky ATM Research) will develop and deliver the necessary operational and technical standards (specifications, procedures, prototypes, validation activities, and so forth) for the progressive deployment of the new European ATM system. The total funding for the SESAR program initially amounts to ?1.9 billion ($2.66 billion) over a period of seven years (see page 18).
ATM is a limiting factor to the growth of air transport,” explained Patrick Gavin, executive vice president, head of Airbus engineering. “The way air transport operations are presently conducted will not allow the sustainable growth of air transport. Future systems will integrate the aircraft as an essential element of the collaborative operations. Modern ATM is also key in enhancing the eco-efficiency of aviation.”
The SESAR program encompasses 16 work packages and 295 projects to be undertaken in the 2009-2016 time frame under the supervision of the SJU. Airbus will serve as a major contributor to all operational work packages and will act as the leader of the aircraft work package. As “aircraft integrator,” Airbus will define and develop future onboard ATM operations and capabilities.
The program has set itself the long-term target–beyond 2020–of tripling air traffic capacity, halving costs for airlines, increasing safety tenfold and reducing the environmental impact of every aircraft by 10 percent.