Projects demonstrate SESAR benefits on a larger scale and pave the way for SESAR deployment

To see is to believe

The SESAR Joint Undertaking (SJU) is in the process of launching 15 Large Scale Demonstration projects, aimed at more extensively showing the benefits that SESAR solutions can bring to aviation in Europe. Between now and 2016, the projects will unite the skills and innovative capabilities of a wide range ATM stakeholders from across Europe in order to test SESAR solutions in a variety of real operational environments.

Co-funded by the SJU, the projects are divided into two categories:

  1. Projects paving the way for the wider scale deployment of the Pilot Common Project: These projects focus on solutions that are paving the way for the implementation of the Pilot Common Project, the first set of Air Traffic Management (ATM) functionalities that have been identified for wide scale coordinated deployment.
  2. Projects focussed on small and medium airports: These projects focus on solutions targeting, but not necessarily limited to, small and medium-sized airports and with that business and general aviation, including rotorcraft.  Remote Tower Services and satellite-based navigation procedures are the main solutions addressed by these projects.

These latest demonstration projects are a fantastic opportunity to showcase innovations emerging from the SESAR Research and Innovation (R&I) Programme on a large scale and in real operational conditions. I am delighted to see so many stakeholders from around Europe taking part: with their support, I am confident that these projects will further convince the broader community that the first SESAR solutions are now fit for wider scale deployment,” says Florian Guillermet, Executive Director of the SESAR Joint Undertaking.

Project summaries

Lot 1

FREE Solutions

The project aims to demonstrate that direct routes and initial Free Routing operations are possible in Europe and can help reduce flight times, congestion and the impact on the environment.  The project will specifically show how direct routes can be applied to city couples, across borders and can involve various ATM stakeholders. Furthermore, the project intends to demonstrate ATM functionalities such as Flexible Airspace Management and Free Route and Network Collaborative Management, by collecting and analysing data in order to facilitate the deployment of these solutions. Against this background, three types of exercises will be executed:

  • City pairs: optimisation will be proposed;
  • Direct Routing (DCT)during weekends and week days including Airspace Management (ASM) and Flexible Use of Airspace (FUA);
  • Free Routing in across a Functional Airspace Block area.

The project will also look how military airspace can be tactically used to better manage flight planning. A performance assessment, including safety, will be conducted thanks to a series of flight trials as part of the project.

Integrated SESAR TRials for Enhanced Arrival Management(iStream)

The project will evaluate the benefits of several flight efficiency procedures, assessing on-board and ground systems capabilities and evaluating how crews, airport operators and controllers can handle these procedures. The evaluation will be performed on commercial flights landing in major European hubs during periods of heavy traffic when short-team capacity and flow measures usually have to be implemented.

Optimised Descent Profiles

The project aims to design and validate cross-border arrival management procedures using Optimised or Continuous Descent Operations (CDO) – where aircraft approach an airport according to a continuous vertical profile and in doing so reduce fuel consumption and noise. The project will conduct fast-time and real-time simulations and eight cross-border exercises, developing continuous descent profiles at the highest level possible for aircraft coming from both free route and conventional route airspaces into major aerodromes in Central Europe.

Providing Effective Ground & Air data Sharing via EPP (PEGASE)

The project will analyse the performance of Extended Projected Profile (EPP) information from multiple live trials involving aircraft equipped with prototypes of the next generation flight management system (FMS) and data link communication systems. Along with additional information, the EPP is a sequence of geographical waypoints that an aircraft will fly over, together with times when the aircraft will pass these waypoints. The EPP is a core element of the SESAR i4D concept in which trajectories are synchronised between air and ground, thus enabling increased predictability of air traffic. Through live flight trials across high density continental airspace, the project will aim to show that the EPP information regarding the trajectory flown is accurate and reliable and that the sharing of this information improves the performance of the systems on the ground, as well as in the air.


The project aims to demonstrate the benefits of the deployment of System Wide Information Management (SWIM)-based services, including MET, aeronautical, corporate network and flight information services. The project will show the direct benefits that these advanced information services can bring to commercial airlines, air navigation service providers, and how these services can improve collaborative decision making between stakeholders. Several hundred operational flights are expected to take place in the demonstrations.


Lot 2

Augmented approaches to land (AAL)

The AAL project aims to develop and demonstrate several augmented approach procedures for small and medium-sized airports, using advanced procedures based on four different technologies: Ground and Satellite-based Augmentation System (GBAS/SBAS Advanced), Synthetic Vision Guidance System (SVGS), Enhanced Flight Vision System (EFVS). The aim of the project is to pave the way for the uptake of these technologies, which are needed to overcome the limitations of the current Instrument Landing System (ILS) – equipment which is costly to install and maintain, and which can only guide straightforward approaches by aircraft. The project will involve six airports across Europe and more than 200 flights, including business jets and commercial airliners.

Budapest 2.0

The project will show that SESAR solutions can improve operational efficiency at small and medium-sized airports. The solutions include Remote Tower Services, MergeStrip (A tool that helps air traffic controllers to better sequence arrivals and departures, particularly for continuous descent and climb operations) and Required Navigation Performance (RNP) (use of onboard systems to define automated flight paths).  Budapest Liszt Ferenc International Airport, where the trials will be performed, is a perfect example of a mid-sized airport infrastructure that combines a wide range of users operating regularly (long and medium haul, regional and business operators).

European - Connected Regional Airport (ECRA)

Airport Collaborative Decision Making (A-CDM) systems are normally implemented in large airport hubs, to allow actors (airport operators, aircraft operators, ANSPs, handlers, Network  Manager) to work together more efficiently.The E-CRA project will demonstrate that A-CDM systems can also be deployed at small to medium-sized airports for a reduced cost using a pre-existing enhanced simulation platform. Using gaming and shadow mode trials, the project will present 6 scenarios where airport traffic flow is disrupted and 6 exercises to choose from depending on the different operational maturity levels or A-CDM steps that are needed.

Electronic Visibility via ADS‐B (EVA)

This project aims at evaluating in live conditions the feasibility and benefits of automatic dependent surveillance – broadcast (ADS–B) equipment for use by general aviation. For the purpose of the project, general aviation (GA) pilots and air traffic controllers will test low-cost ADS–B equipment in order to assess situational awareness and whether the equipment allows for a smoother inclusion of general aviation flights into controlled and uncontrolled airspace. It will assess how to enhance GA pilots’ situational awareness to reduce the number of mid-air collisions involving GA aircraft and to reduce the number of infringements into managed airspace. The project will also assess interoperability, address regulatory issues and cost barriers to bringing this equipment to market, and develop guidance material for European aviation standards.

PBN Rotorcraft Operations under Demonstration (PROuD)

The project aims to demonstrate how the use of satellite-based procedures can enhance helicopter operations, particularly for search and rescue, and medical emergencies in Europe. A total of 80 flight tests are planned in Switzerland and Norway at heliports and small airports. The project will specifically aim to show how PBN procedures can enable precision arrival and departure and can handle operations in adverse weather and challenging environments. 

Remote Airport Concept of OperatioN (RACOON)

The project aims to demonstrate the viability and cost effectiveness of providing Remote Tower Services to multiple airports. For the purpose of the project, a remote tower will be set up at Milano Malpensa airport, which will act as a Remote Tower Center providing remote airport services combined with air navigation (RNAV) procedures for the night-time operations to Milano Linate, as well as a virtual airport. The project, which will involve real-time simulations, shadow mode trials and live trials, will also aim at demonstrating the viability and the cost effectiveness of Remote Tower Services and RNAV procedures for different classes of aircraft and their associated cost benefits compared to  ground equipment which requires ongoing maintenance.

Remote Towers, Shannon and Cork from Dublin

The project seeks to enable the provision of Remote Tower Services at Shannon and Cork, primarily in periods of low traffic intensity, from a remote facility in Dublin. In doing so, the project aims to demonstrate the state of readiness of the SESAR Remote Tower solution for industrialisation and subsequent deployment, as well as the cost and operational efficiency of the solution. The Remote Tower Services will be provided simultaneously or in sequence for both airports during periods of low traffic density. Safety management processes and procedures will be applied to ensure that levels of safety will be equal to those which are provided by the local control towers at both airports. A total of 50 exercises are envisaged for the project.

Remote Tower Operations (RTO)

The project will demonstrate Remote Tower Services (AFIS and ATC) at single tower locations in the Netherlands, Sweden and Germany using live and shadow mode operations. Up to 100 flights are envisaged during the project, covering day and night operations. Specific traffic scenarios incorporating Instrument flight Rules (IFR) and Visual Flight Rules (VFR) - two sets of regulations governing all aspects of civil aviation will be defined. Furthermore, the interchange between conventional operations in a local tower and the remote tower facility will be demonstrated. In addition, a demonstration of control at multiple airports is proposed in a simulated environment.

RNP Implementation Synchronisation in Europe (RISE)

Performance Based Navigation (PBN) procedures, notably Required Navigation Performance (RNP) standards, are about freeing airplanes’ reliance on ground-based navigational aids and allowing more flexible and optimum routing using satellite navigation. While these procedures have existed for some time, implementation in Europe has been slow due to a number of operational factors. The RISE project aims to validate several PBN/RNP procedures by conducting over 160 flight trials between ten European small and medium-sized airports.  The project will work closely with all actors, and in particular with airlines and air service navigation providers to ensure uptake of the procedures more widely.

Toplink 2

The project aims to conduct a total of 130 flight trials in order to demonstrate cost-innovative solutions for the provision to general aviation users of network business-to-business information services, including MET services, air traffic control and aeronautical information management (AIM) services. Specifically, the project foresees implementing a low-cost Flight Operation Centre (FOC) solution for general aviation users connected through the internet, as well as a low-cost cockpit solution based on Electronic Flight Bags using communications options such as WiFi, 3G/4G, iridium Satcom and ACARS.