ATM Modernization

Eurocontrol Network Manager Now Monitoring Datalink Performance

By S.L. Fuller | December 15, 2017

The Network Manager is now responsible for monitoring datalink performance in Europe’s air traffic management (ATM) network, Eurocontrol said. This builds on the recommendations from the Single European Sky ATM Research (SEAR) Joint Undertaking (JU) VDL Mode 2 Measurement, Analysis and Simulation Campaign — more commonly known as the ELSA project. It is also in response to the European Commission.

ATM stakeholders have formed a group, known as the Datalink Performance Monitoring Group (DPMG). The group decides on what to monitor and which types of report should be published, according to Eurocontrol. It reports to the Network Management Board and the Single Sky Committee via the Director Network Manager.

Eurocontrol said the DPMG’s main activities are to:

  • Publish regular performance monitoring reports, based on independent measurement and computation/analysis carried out by the Network Manager;
  • Carry out, on request, ad-hoc performance analysis reports for specific stakeholders (e.g. aircraft manufacturers, avionics manufacturers, air navigation service providers, communication service providers, etc.);
  • Make forecasts of future demand and, in consequence, estimate the future capacity needed for data link communications and related spectrum;
  • Maintain a database of the data link avionics installed on board aircraft operating in Europe and the management of a ‘white list’ on behalf of some ANSPs. The white list defines which aircraft ANSPs allow to logon to use data link in their airspace;
  • Make initial investigations into the causes of poor performance

Eurocontrol said the first performance reports indicate that the datalink infrastructure needs “major enhancement” to meet required performance levels. However it is improving, as the provider-abort rate is at a historically low value of just under five provider aborts per 100 hours of CPDLC (controller-pilot data link communications) usage (against a target value of one), according to Eurocontrol.

Recent network manager stakeholder consultations have shown there is risk of a significant increase in the data transmitted by the new generation of aircraft, such as the A320neo in the short term, Eurocontrol said. Because of this, the network manager plans to reinforce its links with the aircraft operators and aircraft manufacturers to determine the optimum usage for different communication options for airline operation communications and air traffic control.

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