ATM Modernization

Germany Aims to Modernize Airspace, Navigation Infrastructure by 2029

By S.L. Fuller | September 27, 2017

East Asia viewed from space with connections representing main air traffic routes. Elements of this image furnished by NASA

Elements of this image furnished by NASA

DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH has launched a comprehensive innovation program for the optimization and modernization of airspace and navigation infrastructure in Germany, according to DFS. The program aims to enable the transition from ground-based to modern surface navigation.

By 2029, DFS said the flight procedures at more than 60 German airfields would be gradually transitioned to area navigation procedures involving satellite navigation. This, DFS said, takes account of the increasing demands on the transport capacity in the airspace.

"With the introduction of precision surface navigation in the approach and departure, we achieve additional stretching capacity in the airspace with a consistently outstanding safety level,” said Klaus-Dieter Scheurle, CEO of DFS. “Our overall concept makes it possible to fly more precisely and at the same time more flexibly. This provides advantages in terms of efficiency and environmental protection. More precise flying means noise mitigating flying and the reduction of radio fires means climate protection through shorter route guidance, which allows fuel savings."

The introduction of surface navigation is based on parameters set by ICAO in 2012 and the announcement by the EU Commission on the implementation of these navigation procedures for European airspace, DFS said. The organization has already begun planning for the introduction of the area navigation system in anticipation of the EU requirement.

To achieve the transition by 2029, DFS said some 2,800 arrival and departure procedures have to be newly designed, and an adjustment of the airspace structure must be completed. The German airspace is divided into seven clusters, which contain airports that are in close proximity to one another and have dependencies, DFS said. It hopes to implement the changes in clusters based on air traffic safety requirements.

The transition is set to start after an extensive inspection process in the Elbe/Weser cluster at the end of 2020 in northern Germany, according to DFS.

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