|The air route network of Eurocontrol member states. Photo: Eurocontrol|
[Avionics Today 12-03-2014] Eurocontrol is looking to make European airspace more efficient and reduce both CO2 emissions and airline costs by increasing its number of direct route offerings. With a total of 466 direct routes published in the upper airspace controlled by Eurocontrol’s Maastricht Upper Area Control Centre (MUAC) and the DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung Karlsruhe Upper Area Control (UAC) Centre, the network of direct, flight-plannable cross-border routes has considerably expanded. This has created a large-scale free routing airspace over Belgium, most of Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.
As a result, MUAC and Karlsruhe UAC have exceeded the EU-mandated great circle deviation percentages for the first Single European Sky (SES) reference period. Future developments will concentrate on user-preferred routes, where airlines can choose routes more dynamically to take into account other key factors such as wind, weather or congestion in addition to the length of the route. This will require further technological development for deployment in complex and busy airspace.