• SJU reference # PJ.10-01a1 /Release 2019
  • Stakeholders
  • Benefits Cost-efficiency
  • Status Available for industrialisation/deployment


Traditionally ATC operations are based on a team composed of two air traffic controllers, who undertake the roles of planning controller (PC) and executive controller (EC). As demands on European airspace are expected to grow, and new entrants such as unmanned and high-altitude aerial vehicles take to the skies, maintaining safe and efficient traffic flow stands to benefit from a combination of human intervention and automation tools.

Among new team structures, SESAR JU partners have developed a multi-sector planner position with responsibility for airspace controlled by up to two executive controllers (2ECs). The multi-sector planner is able to adjust sector boundaries so that workload is balanced between controllers to achieve an efficient and safe distribution of tasks for traffic and separation management across the whole team. Demand and capacity balancing are considered but the main objective is tactical provision of separation between aircraft. The solution proposes addition coordination tools between the teams including conflict detection and resolution, electronic coordination between sectors, and flight conformance monitoring and applies to high and medium complexity airspace in both the en-route and terminal area environment.

SESAR JU partners validated this solution through a series of activities, including a gaming exercise and real-time simulation completed in SESAR 1. As a result of using the multi-sector planner position, tests showed increased flight predictability and reduced fuel burn in the en-route and extended terminal manoeuvring area (eTMA). Better distribution of human resources and improved task sharing resulted in a reduction in total-man hours. The solution is not applicable to all sectors at all traffic levels, but a number of sectors can be combined in this way and operate efficiently at reasonably high traffic levels.

No changes in regulatory aspects or certification activities are foreseen, however as the solution deals with new automated tools, new procedures will have to be developed for degraded mode and failure in line with existing methods.

The solution is available for industrialisation and has been implemented in Ireland.


Improved operational and cost efficiency

Maintained levels of safety

Better use of human resources