The integration of regional and small airports into the network is seen as critical to improving the predictability of air traffic from these airports. To address the situation, SESAR has developed affordable ways to connect these airports to the wider network. These solutions were recently demonstrated at Bordeaux Airport by SESAR’s European-Connected Regional Airport (E-CRA) large-scale demonstration project.
The project focused on demonstrating several core airport operations management solutions, including the airport operations plan (AOP) and its seamless integration with the network operations plan (NOP) (Solution 21). Specifically, the project showed how it is possible to share information between airport stakeholders, allowing them to benefit from a common situational awareness and to make decisions collaboratively.
The solutions were demonstrated during two trials from January to March 2016 at Bordeaux-Mérignac Airport. A gaming platform was used to simulate two trial scenarios, one featuring a planned runway closure and another manage significant adverse weather conditions.
During the live demonstrations flight update messages (FUM) received from the Networked Manager were shared between the airport stakeholders via the airport operations centre (APOC). A series of collaborative tools were also provided to the different participants to help them manage their areas of responsibility while ensuring shared situation awareness, irrespective of their physical location. These included a “chat capability” to enhance situational awareness and decision making and a “What-if” tool to determine an optimum take off slot for the aircraft, taking into account deviations and disturbances in both scenarios. Ultimately, these ensured that flight plans and flight estimates were up to date, allowing for greater predictability and more efficient operations.
Looking to the future, the SESAR S2020 work programme has included further development and validation work on Regional Airport collaborative processes in their work programme.
Offering advanced air traffic services
The solution demonstrated in E-CRA is part of a broader set of solutions (key feature) aimed at increasing the performance of advanced air traffic services, in line with the vision of the European ATM Master Plan.