In short




2016-12-01 > 2019-12-31


EUR 36 898 908


EUR 3 162 605




Addressing capacity and delays at airports

It is estimated that by 2035, more than 20 airports will be operating at 80% or more of capacity on a daily basis, resulting in delays of up to 5-6 minutes (2013 Challenges of Growth Report, Eurocontrol).

Addressing capacity is challenging given the socio and environmental constraints preventing airports from building new runways or the technical, infrastructure and meteorological limitations hindering secondary airports from absorbing additional traffic.

Project objectives

The EARTH project united key European aviation partners combining the right expertise and investment to address issues and drive deployment of operational and technical improvements to enhance infrastructure, increase traffic throughput while preserving safety and environment.

EARTH focused on separation and procedures to improve runway and airport throughput considering wake-vortex, weather, environment and noise, while taking account of different traffic demand, future aircraft capability and airport configurations.


EARTH supported the SESAR deployment regulation and addressed European concerns on environmental sustainability, reduction of noise and fuel consumption and brings low cost improved access to regional airports making regions economically attractive with potential for new jobs.

Other news and documents

Integrated Runway Sequence Function: <Flyer> - <Poster>

July 2019: An article on PJ02 project published on NATS blog

Activities supporting the delivery of solutions

Wake turbulence separation optimisation
SJU reference

The project aims to optimise wake turbulence separation minima for arrivals and departures to enhance airport runway throughput. It focuses on development of:

  • wake separations reductions based on weather and static aircraft characteristics;
  • separation delivery support tool for controllers;
  • wake risk monitoring and awareness functions (ground and airborne);
  • wake vortex decay enhancing devices.

Enhanced arrival procedures enabled by satellite technologies
SJU reference

The project will investigate the use of satellite navigation and augmentation capabilities, such as GBAS and satellite-based augmentation systems (SBAS), to enhance landing performance and to facilitate advanced arrival procedures (e.g. curved approaches, glide slope increase, displaced runway threshold). By doing so, noise is reduced while runway occupancy time (ROT) is optimised. The aim is to also reduce the need for separation for wake vortex avoidance.

Minimum-pair separations based on required surveillance performance (RSP)
SJU reference PJ.02-03

The project will work on the application (by air traffic control) of non-wake turbulence pair wise separation (PWS) of 2 nautical miles for arrivals on final approach (at the point that the leading aircraft in the pair crosses the runway threshold), based upon required surveillance performance (RSP).

Independent rotorcraft operations at airports SJU reference PJ.02-05

The work refers to RC specific approach procedures and SBAS-based point-in-space (PinS), which aim to improve access to secondary airports in low-visibility conditions.

Improved access into secondary airports in low-visibility conditions
SJU reference PJ.02-06

Improved access into secondary airports in low-visibility conditions will be possible thanks to the introduction of new airborne capabilities, such as RNP and global navigation satellite system (GNSS)-based landing systems.

Traffic optimisation on single and multiple runway airports
SJU reference PJ.02-08

The project will develop and validate a system that enables tower and approach controllers to optimise runway operations arrival and/or departure spacing and make the best use of minimum separations, runway occupancy, runway capacity and airport capacity.

Enhanced terminal area for efficient curved operations
SJU reference

The project will look a curved segment approaches as close to the runway as possible to optimise procedures in terms of fuel consumption or noise abatement. Using geometric vertical navigation guidance in the TMA will facilitate a more efficient transition from barometric to geometric vertical navigation.

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 731781

European Union