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European Airport Movement Management by A-SMGCS


Due to the growth in air transport, airport capacity is expected to become the major bottleneck in the near future. The EMMA project, together with the subsequent EMMA2, aims to provide the most significant R&D contribution to the Vision 2020 goals in the field of A-SMGCS (Advanced Surface Movement Guidance and Control System). This will be done in a four-year timeframe (from 2004 to 2008), by maturing and validating the A-SMGCS concept as an integrated air-ground system, seamlessly embedded in the overall ATM system. In a two-phase approach, EMMA will first consolidate the surveillance and conflict alert functions, and the successor project, EMMA2, will focus on advanced onboard guidance support to pilots and planning support to controllers.

Project objectives

The main objective of EMMA is to enable the harmonised A-SMGCS implementation at European airports. For this reason, it is important to bring together users, service providers, research organisations and manufacturers. The EMMA consortium was built from Air Navigation Service Providers, Airport Operators, the biggest group of Airline Operators, an Airframe Manufacturer, Avionics manufacturers, the main European ATM manufacturers and research establishments. A main extension of the A-SMGCS concept by EMMA will be the holistic, integrated air-ground approach, considering aircraft equipped with advanced systems for pilot assistance in a context where tower and apron controllers are supported by A-SMGCS ground systems. A mature technical and operational concept, as developed through EMMA, will ensure consistency of traffic information given to controllers and pilots. This is the basis for a common situation awareness and safe ground operations. The associated operational concept will define the roles and tasks of the onboard and ground stakeholders, and the procedures from an overall, holistic point of view. The development of conflict detection and resolution will not only increase safety but also efficiency.

EMMA aims to seamlessly integrate the Advanced Surface Movement Guidance and Control System (A-SMGCS) concept into the air and ground operations of the ATM system. It will be tested in a simulated environment but also in three European airports.
EMMA aims to seamlessly integrate the Advanced Surface Movement Guidance and Control System (A-SMGCS) concept into the air and ground operations of the ATM system. It will be tested in a simulated environment but also in three European airports.

Description of the work

Based on an advanced operational concept, a level 1 and 2 A-SMGCS will be implemented at three European airports (Prague Ruzyne, Milan Malpensa and Toulouse-Blagnac) and will be in fully operational use for a relatively long time period. The project is following an iterative development process with system maturing phases followed by functional and operational testing phases. Two test campaigns are planned. Licensed controllers, as well as aircraft pilots and ground vehicle drivers, will be involved in testing in order to gain realistic, operation-focused results. Controllers and pilots will be trained in a simulated environment and on-site to prepare them to cope with a level 1 or 2 A-SMGCS under real operational conditions. The systems implemented are to be verified and validated against the predefined operational and technical requirements. On-site long-term trials at these test sites and at the busiest European hub in Paris are underway. The harmonised concepts of operations will be applied and validated due to functional and operational testing under real operational conditions. Active participation of licensed controllers and pilots from different countries are foreseen. Furthermore, activities more related to future A-SMGCS potential aspects are planned: through concept-studies, ‘new A-SMGCS user’ roles will be defined and tested in the successor project EMMA2. In addition, studies referring to ‘data link situation in 2008+’ and ‘starter kits for regional airports’ are to be conducted.

Expected results

The results of this test phase will provide feedback on the A-SMGCS ICAO Manual Doc. 9830 and are intended to be used for proposing standards for future implementation with:

  • common operational procedures
  • common technical and operational system performance
  • common safety requirements, and
  • common standards of interoperability with other ATM systems.

In order to meet the mentioned objectives, EMMA will build upon the previous work performed by EC projects, Eurocontrol and others. Finally, the Integrated Project EMMA will lead to comprehensive results, which will support the regulation and standardisation bodies as well as the industry in early and efficient implementation of A-SMGCS in Europe and beyond.