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Separation Management En-Route and TMA
Deadline: Mar 16, 2016  

 Horizon Europe

Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

Current operations within continental En-route and TMA airspace are highly tactical with the use of multiple radar vectors and stepped climbs and descents to maintain separation between aircraft in high traffic situations. This leads to less efficient flight profiles and high levels of workload for both ATC and the flight crews. It makes it also very difficult to balance the operators’ requirements in terms of flight efficiency (notably user-preferred trajectories) with the need for overall capacity, safety of the operations and ATC workload. Occasionally, where no further splitting of sectors is possible due to limited controller resources, the sector demand exceeds the available controller capacity resulting in flow restrictions, level-capping and other measures that ensure safety at the expense of flight efficiency and timeliness. Finally, the flight efficiency in oceanic and other En-route areas without radar coverage is negatively affected by applied procedural separation methods frequently resulting in inefficient flight profiles of involved aircraft. Future En-Route and TMA environment is anticipated to be even more loaded and complex, as full business and mission trajectories will be used.

Free route operational environment and mixed mode operations based on RNAV and Required Navigation Performance (RNP) specifications shall be considered. In addition new system functionalities and further steps of automation provide the chance to achieve significant operational benefits with regards to safety, capacity/productivity and cost-efficiency. New ATC tools and the development of new concepts are also required, to allow for different controller team and sector structures to suit various airspace structures like free route, various traffic levels and complexities. Controller productivity needs to be improved with new team organisations in order to decrease ATC related costs.

Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) that are to operate under VFR or IFR will have to integrate into an environment which is dominated by manned aviation.


The Project “Separation Management En-Route and TMA” aims at delivering the following SESAR Solutions:

  • High Productivity Controller Team Organisation: New sector team organizations and responsibilities distribution together with associated assistance tools in order to optimise flight profiles, minimise delays, increase ANSP cost efficiencies while taking into account intrinsic uncertainty in the trajectory.

  • Flight Centred ATC: in En-Route environment where a number of flights are assigned to an ATCO, unconstrained by geographical location, sector or national boundaries.

  • Collaborative Control: is a concept of operation based on co-ordination by exception rather than co-ordination by procedure, thanks to advanced controller tools.

  • Improved Performance in the Provision of Separation: in the en-route and TMA operational environments: Vertical and longitudinal separation are ensured by tactical ATC intervention. Assistance tools are enhanced by using: Enhanced ground Trajectory prediction, Extended Predicted Profile, Aircraft derived data, MET data, ASM and mission trajectory data.

  • Advanced Separation Management: by introducing automation mechanisms integrating additional information (ATC intent, Aircraft intent).

  • Ad Hoc Delegation of Separation to Flight Deck: In-Trail Follow (ITF) and In-Trail Merge (ITM) Procedures for use En-route in an oceanic environment.

  • IFR RPAS Integration: research ways in which RPAS may be able to use a technical capability or procedural means to comply with ATC instructions.

  • Generic (non-geographical) Controller Validations: advanced tools and concepts will help to remove some of the requirement for the Controller to be valid on a defined volume of airspace.

Expected Impact:

This project will develop solutions that are expected to have a positive impact on the Network improving:Capacity (Airspace En-Route and TMA)

  • Safety

  • Capacity (Airspace En-Route and TMA)

  • Cost Effectiveness (sector team organization and human performance)

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