ATM Modernization, Commercial

2012 Critical Year for SESAR, Panelists Say

By Tish Drake | March 6, 2012
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2012 will be a key year for the deployment of Europe's SESAR airspace modernization program, according to speakers at ATC Global conference in Amsterdam.

Addressing a packed conference room in Amsterdam, Patrick Ky, executive director of the SESAR Joint Undertaking, said the group "delivered what we expected to deliver" in 2011, beginning the process of updating the SESAR Master Plan, which aims to simplify and highlight 10 critical airspace changes needed to bring about operational benefits; launching Airline Flight Operations and Weather Systems activities; and expanding the public-private partnership to 17 associate partners and 8 associates. SESAR is in the middle of its 2009-2014 Development Phase, the second of three phases.

In 2012, Eurocontrol will proceed with the second phase of its Release approach, an effort to validate technologies in an operational environment. Release 1 included 25 operational validations throughout Europe, centering on environmentally friendly terminal airspace operations, the initial 4D trajectory and traffic synchronization. Twenty-five Release 2 exercises are planned for 2012, expanding the scope of the Release 1 work to create a more "coherent strategy, ensuring that the ATM Master Plan is properly addressed," according to Eurocontrol. More specifically, Release 2 will focus on airport platform safety, airborne operations, ATC operations and network management.

In addition to operational demonstrations, the industry needs to make more progress on solutions to the funding question. "Closing the business case is complicated," Ky said. "You can't make the business case using only one actor; all actors business cases depend on other actors."

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