European air traffic is growing. This is due to many reasons: development of international co-operation, development of tourism (more holidays available, more, shorter, holiday periods during the year), frequency of flights tending to increase (with smaller aircraft) to fight train competition, opening of countries to foreign competition. This increase in traffic causes congestion on airways and on airports, leading to delays or even, as it already happened sometimes, to flight cancellations. All passengers used to travel in Europe have experienced this congestion and associated delays. And the situation is already even worse than it may seem to be, as airlines already take predictable delays into account when planning their schedules.
Another, often less visible, problem related to the traffic level is safety: the number of incidents (and sometimes accidents) tends to increase, mainly at airports, because of the increasing traffic. This situation is expected to still worsen rapidly (5% and 10% increase a year forecast for the next 10 years) leading to a breaking point where the capacity cannot meet the demand, with serious consequences on economical growth.
During the same period, usual ATM operational concepts are going to reach their limits (e.g. using smaller sectors leads to a too heavy co-ordination workload). So it becomes urgent to find solutions to these problems. Lots of new ATM Operational Concepts are emerging, but still need to be validated with respect to the benefits they should bring, before being introduced into operational systems. The objective of G2G is to validate these concepts from the ground segment viewpoint.
The specific objectives of the Gate-to-Gate project are to:
- define and describe a coherent operational concept, consistent with other on-going European projects, and with stakeholders strategic plans, for potential implementation around 2010, and looking forward to develop Air-Ground integrated procedures.
- define a strategy for evaluating the operational concept -up to performing large scale simulation trials - while focusing on operational aspects.
- associate a majority of ATM stakeholders (ATS providers, ATM manufacturers, avionics and aircraft manufacturers, EUROCONTROL Agency) in the project to reach agreement on concept, secure its feasibility and so to speed up further decisions for implementation of the concept's elements.
- have operational staff (e.g. pilots and controllers) co-operating in the validation of concept to assess operational feasibility and to gain their adhesion on the concepts elements and secure further implementation.
- go on with the definition of an "open" validation architecture (the AVENUE architecture, for ATM real-time simulation systems) allowing for enhanced exchanges of ATM validation components and gain in homogeneity and cost - at European level - of developing and validating concepts.
- contribute to the development of a reference ATM validation platform, at the EEC, that can be accessed by all ATM stakeholders (and disseminated).
"The relentless growth of European air traffic is causing more and more congestion and delays, and as the situation worsens, it might threaten the freedom to travel, and economic growth. Given its complexity and the number of stakeholders, solutions to this problem may only be at the European level, by introducing new concepts into air traffic management and by favouring homogeneity."
Such an assessment justified for the European Commission to propose a set of tasks as part of the 5th Air Transport programme managed by DG TREN (Key Action "Sustainable Mobility and Inter-modality" of the "Competitive and Sustainable Growth" European Commission programme).
The Gate-to-Gate project (as the Proposal selected for particular task 2.3.1/17 - Operational Platform for a European ATM system in the medium term timeframe 2005-2010), has the objective to define an operational concept providing some European safe solutions to these problems, and to perform validation trials on some important aspects of this concept and validate it.
While all phases of flights are affected, a seamless gate-to-gate approach will be developed, allowing for a holistic European concept, consistent with European Commission strategy and relevant projects, consistent with EUROCONTROL Strategy and supported by core-area ATS providers as bringing solutions to their operational problems.
Thus, with reference to other EC projects, the Gate-to-Gate project will use OCD, EATMP2000+ strategy, and TORCH as the basis for developing the concept.
Other projects such as MA-AFAS, NUP and AFAS will also be strongly considered as developing TORCH from the Air perspective. Particularly, ASAS procedures will be given a high priority.
A validation strategy will be elaborated using MAEVA guidelines, and will be supported mainly by real-time simulations. These real-time simulations will require ATM ground validation platforms capable of emulating the concepts, and, as required by the EC, coherent with the architectural work developed in the AVENUE project.
The consortium is composed of: 5 ATS Providers (namely AENA, DFS, DNA, ENAV, and LFV): they will develop the concept and the relevant validation strategy, host the real-time validation platform; some will provide their own platforms (CENA and DFS), the others (AENA, ENAV, LFV) will use the ACE platform provided by EUROCONTROL while integrating "local components", and perform local validation trials.3 ATM industrials (ALENIA, INDRA, an
- Allow for a better understanding of links between proposed changes and resulting operational improvements,
- Prepare a wide dissemination of new technical means,
- Quicken the introduction of new concepts urgently required by air traffic,
- Influence future standards towards what Europe really needs.
For the typical purposes of an SSS, cited in the first and second objectives, it is necessary to include any functions being developed for G2G. These may comprise new ATC tools, core ATM functions and "second line" functions such as simulation, supervision, recording/replay, etc.
In order to meet the third and fourth objectives, the ATM application functionality that is derived from the operational concept must be described. Although it is often a particular controller tool that is the subject of validation, it is normally necessary to know the complete operational context to interpret correctly the validation results. It is therefore suggested that the "core" ATM functions (e.g. flight data distribution, trajectory prediction, etc.) be described in addition to the ATC tools.
Finally, for the complete context of the validation results, it may also be necessary to document the simulated air-system functions where they impact or constrain the operational concept. This might include, for example, the air-side of the air/ground datalink.
Conversely, functions excluded from the proposed scope are those that do not serve the SSS objectives. Support functions (control and monitoring, recording and replay, etc), except those under development for G2G, are probably not essential to the operational concept and would therefore not be needed in the SSS. Similarly, offline tools (data preparation and analysis), voice communications system, air traffic generator and aircraft simulator might also be excluded.