HungaroControl, the air navigation service provider of Hungary, said it has started a €6.8 million ($9 million) program to implement data communications between controllers and pilots. The company plans to introduce controller-pilot datalink communications (CPDLC) next February as required by Single European Sky regulation.
In its relatively new role as Europe’s ATC “network manager,” Eurocontrol achieved its time target for en route flight delays in 2013. But more so than in the previous year, air traffic controller job actions prevented better performance, the agency said.
Under threat of another volcano erupting in Iceland, Eurocontrol said it is better prepared to deal with air travel disruptions caused by volcanic ash than it was in 2010 when the Eyjafjallajökull eruption grounded flights across Europe.
The European agency tasked with keeping watch over the EU’s external borders, Frontex, is enthusiastic about adopting remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) to help them in that job. But significant challenges–some technical but the majority legal–mean that unmanned aircraft are unlikely to be deployed to help defend EU borders in the near future.
The Single European Sky ATM Research (Sesar) effort, the “technological pillar” of the future Single European Sky (SES) vision, has a new lease on life. In April, the European Parliament voted to extend the mission of the entity managing the research and development program, known as the Sesar Joint Undertaking (SJU), by eight years until 2024. The SJU expects the European Union Council of Ministers will approve the extension this summer.
The European Parliament has voted to extend the mission of the Single European Sky ATM Research (Sesar) Joint Undertaking (SJU) by eight years, until 2024. The organization expects the European Union Council of Ministers, the second chamber of the EU legislature, will adopt the final act extending its life this summer.
German air navigation service provider DFS (Deutsche Flugsicherung), which has criticized air traffic management (ATM) performance targets sought by the European Commission, announced 2013 results showing improved management of Germany’s airspace, which has Europe’s highest traffic volume.
Authorities reopened the upper airspace over the republic of Kosovo to civilian overflights on April 3, 15 years after it closed because of the ethnic war in the former Yugoslavian territory. The action will lead to shorter flight routes in the region and represents “a significant step toward aviation normalization in the Western Balkans,” Eurocontrol announced.
The government of Cyprus plans to reorganize its civil aviation department by privatizing the air traffic control function. The Mediterranean island will create a new self-funded ATC organization for the Nicosia flight information region. Eurocontrol provided strategic assistance to Cyprus in creating the new structure, which the government has labeled, “an independent, state-owned, private [ATC] company.”
Eurocontrol’s Maastricht Upper Area Control Center last week introduced a system to dynamically manage upper airspace to suit traffic flow. The new variable division flight level (VDFL) enables a flexible distribution of traffic between upper and lower sectors (from 24,500 feet to unlimited), by altering the division flight level to match changing traffic patterns. The division flight level between the upper and lower sectors was previously fixed at 33,500 feet.
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