The Swedish air navigation service provider, LFV, and Thales as part of the COOPANS Alliance, have recently validated a SESAR digital solution to better synchronise arrivals and departures at busy airports. The solution is expected to improve the predictability and traffic flows, while minimising fuel burn and CO2 emissions.

Air traffic is increasing in Europe, especially around major hub airports. Optimising airspace capacity in the terminal manoeuvring areas can help to improve flight efficiency and environmental performance. Planning arrival streams from an earlier stage enables delays to be absorbed in the en-route phases of flight, saving fuel and emissions compared with stack holding or long transitions in the terminal manoeuvring area.

The candidate solution sees the digital synchronisation of arrivals and departures in high density and complex environments. Specifically, it is composed of an automated controlled time of arrival function, which generates arrival constraints to departing aircraft. The solution enables aircraft to fly more optimal trajectories and absorb delay on the ground instead or in the air, reducing fuel burn. It also improves queue management and results in more predictable landing times

Taking place in early May 2022 at Malmö-Sturup, the tests involved six controllers and five pseudo pilots, who handled inbound and outbound traffic to Stockholm-Arlanda Airport in simulated busy en-route airspace. Initial feedback has been positive and the project partners are currently analysing the data to provide a full report later this year.

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This project has received funding from the SESAR Joint Undertaking under the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 872085, and Trafikverket, the Swedish Transport Administration.