The SESAR Joint Undertaking (JU) has recently carried out an extensive review to see whether there are any early results that could benefit the aviation community. The outcome has been the first of five planned annual “releases,” which will concentrate on 29 validation exercises covering “efficient and green terminal airspace operations, the initial four-dimensional trajectory, end-to-end traffic synchronization and integrated and collaborative network management.” Following are some examples of those releases:
· French ATM service provider DSNA, together with Airbus, Eurocontrol and the UK’s NATS, will work on upgraded midair collision tools.
· A SESAR consortium consisting of eight service providers will carry out air traffic control exercises using a remote tower prototype. Eventually, remote towers will allow traffic at medium-sized airports to be controlled remotely from a single, large, air traffic services center.
· NATS will carry out new approach procedures using satellite technology at the UK’s Southampton Airport, aiming to reduce disruptions due to poor weather while increasing the cost-effectiveness of approach operations.
· Eurocontrol, Swedish service provider LFV and Airbus will carry out flight trials for controlled-time-of-arrival using four-dimensional capabilities. The aim is to enable pilots and air traffic controllers to share the same flight information during descents and departures.
“The staff involved in the SESAR project are keen to deliver results,” said Patrick Ky, executive director of the SESAR JU. He explained that the next release will concentrate more four-dimensional ATM features, while data exchange technology will continue to be developed and activities will be performed at airports to improve surface management and runway throughput. In the terminal airspace area, efforts will concentrate on advanced continuous descent approaches and continuous climb departures to further increase efficiency and lower the environmental impact.
SESAR consists of no fewer than 300 projects and 16 work packages, involving 110 companies and 2,200 experts working in 23 countries. Program participants include 200 airline representatives and a 60-strong international validation team.
Recently, 13 new industrial partners have been added to link with other countries, such as Canada, and to include more of the industry from outside the European Union “to guarantee that SESAR technologies will be interoperable with other regions of the world.” EU industrial partners are encouraged to enter reciprocal arrangements across the Atlantic, especially with U.S. companies working on NextGen.
Earlier this year, the EU and the U.S. signed a memorandum of cooperation to coordinate activities on their respective SESAR and NextGen programs. The SESAR JU also is working with ICAO to ensure that global uniformity of ATM standards.