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Co-operative Air Traffic Management


The major challenges facing the European air transport system over the next 15-20 years include accommodating the predicted growth of air transport demand whilst providing a better, more predictable and more efficient service to airspace users, and maintaining or improving the overall safety of the system.

Such challenging objectives call for a combination of actions that will be targeted at discarding the inefficiencies of today’s air traffic management modus operandi, eliminating segmentation and considering the Air Transport System as a whole. The aim of the C-ATM project is to contribute to these efforts.

Project objectives

C-ATM objectives are directed towards the elimination of the main obstacles facing the growth of the European Air Transport system over the next 20 years. The major challenge addressed by C-ATM is the dramatic improvement of the overall network efficiency, to provide a more reliable and predictable service to airspace users – particularly airlines – in order to support cost effective, on-time air transport services.

This will be achieved through the implementation of co-operative systems and processes aimed at optimising system resources and task distribution between air and ground, supported by the sharing of common data across the system.

The project places great importance on maintaining or improving the overall safety of the system. Environmental protection will be assured by the early identification of requirements to be incorporated into the system design process.

The C-ATM project aims to establish an unambiguous reference baseline facilitating the roll-out of improved, co-operative ATM operations in a 2012 time frame, thereby contributing to the Single European Sky implementation.

Description of the work

Phase 1 of the C-ATM Project was launched in May 2004 and has an 18-month duration. At the end of this phase, initial reference material will be delivered, including an operational concept and an associated technical baseline that will be further validated in subsequent projects.

C-ATM Phase 1 activities are organised in three main Work Packages:

Work Package 1 – Operational baseline led by EUROCONTROL

The main objective of Work Package 1 is to define the operational concept to be developed and implemented within the C-ATM project. The C-ATM operational concept will build upon mature elements of research developed in previous research programmes, integrating and consolidating these into an overall operational concept that is achievable in the target timeframe. In addition to identifying and documenting this concept and typical operational scenarios, the work package includes activities to analyse the cost-benefit and safety impacts of deploying the concept.

Work Package 2 –Technical baseline led by AIRBUS France

The main objective of Work Package 2 is to define high level functional and technical requirements of the airborne and ground applications supporting the operational concept, including interoperability issues. An initial generic specification will be defined and its impact on airborne and ground systems will be analysed, thus creating the technical baseline of the project. A specific activity will be dedicated to supporting standardisation of the selected solutions.

Work Package 3 – Roadmap and planning led by AENA

This Work Package will provide a general assessment of the potential deployment plan and implementation schedule of the concepts, procedures and applications defined in C-ATM (i.e. the roadmap and transition plans) and will establish a preliminary validation plan. Specific attention will be paid to certification issues, considering their impact on the implementation schedule.

C-ATM Phase 1 is coordinated by THALES Air Traffic Management who also have a leading role in Work Package 0 – Project Management Activities.

Work Package 0 includes project coordination activities, and project dissemination and communication activities. Project coordination activities consist of tasks linked to the management and coordination of the project at consortium level, administration and reporting to the European Commission.

Expected results

C-ATM Phase 1 will deliver an operational and technical reference baseline supported by an initial assessment of operational deployment roadmaps, while subsequent projects are envisaged to provide further supporting validation material.

The aim is for C-ATM Phase 1 output to become reference material defining cooperative ATM operations deployable in the 2012 timeframe. It will form a major input into subsequent R&D and validation projects, and into SESAME, thereby contributing to the Single European Sky implementation.