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Demonstration Facilities for Airport Movement Management

European Union
Complete with results
Project Acronym
STRIA Roadmaps
Network and traffic management systems (NTM)
Transport mode
Airborne icon
Transport policies
Societal/Economic issues


Background & Policy context

The present imbalance of technical support between flight phases and ground movement has created a situation where airports are behaving as bottlenecks in the capacity growth of air passenger and freight transport.

A-SMGCS (Advanced Surface Movement Guidance and Control System) supports the safe and expeditious movement of aircraft and vehicles across airports under all circumstances with respect to traffic density, visibility conditions and complexity of the airport layout. Simulations have shown that the expected improvement in traffic handling can be achieved and specific functions in real airport environment have been initially demonstrated.


The overall objective of DEFAMM was to provide the next step towards introducing an integrated system for airport surface traffic management on a European level.

Specific DEFAMM objectives were to:

  • implement a demonstrator system for A-SMGCS functions;
  • show the users (air traffic control, airports, airlines) the functions through which they would gain the benefits of increased traffic management efficiency at maintained or improved safety levels;
  • obtain feedback from controllers, pilots and drivers on the acceptability of the demonstrated systems.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
European Commission; Directorate-General for Energy and Transport (DG TREN; formerly DG VII)
Type of funding
Public (EU)


Demonstrator systems for A-SMGCS have been implemented at four European airports including the first large-scale A-SMGCS demonstrator in Koeln/Bonn. A modular and open system architecture has been built, which can be used as a guideline for possible follow-on projects and realisation of a large-scale A-SMGCS implementation. The advantages gained by data exchange in the demonstrations of DEFAMM have motivated better integration of existing systems at the airports.

The experience gained from DEFAMM may be regarded as a basic guideline for on-going and future projects when making the step from demonstration to prototype systems. The following areas are suggested for further investigation or improvement:

  • surveillance: the integration of information from individual sensors and the harmonisation with controllers needs;
  • control: the reduction of the reaction time, e.g. by automatic guidance commands for pilots and drivers, in order to reduce the necessary safety distances;
  • guidance: the size and the timing conditions for activation of the light segments used for ground based guidance;
  • planning: the new role of the controller in the planning and negotiation process.

Policy implications

A specific issue for future gate-to-gate co-ordination of air traffic is further investigation of planning functions. These functions cannot be provided by the A-SMGCS if the system is not acceptable to the controllers. The controllers new role and working practices in an A-SMGCS supported environment will only be accepted if transition training is provided. Preparation and implementation of controller training will be a key issue for future projects.

The experience gained in DEFAMM will be used to industrialise the prototype subsystems that were demonstrated, in order to perform the next step towards operationally serviceable subsystems.


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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