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Airbus, EADS and Thales join forces in air traffic alliance

To accelerate deployment of new technologies for enhanced air transport capacity, safety and security…

To accelerate deployment of new technologies for enhanced air transport capacity, safety and security Airbus<.>, EADS and Thales announced the creation of an open industry alliance to provide a global solution to radically increase air traffic capacity while enhancing safety and security. The Air Traffic Alliance team will work to improve the air transport system over the coming decades and is linked to major initiatives by the European Union, Eurocontrol and European Civil Aviation Authorities.

Air Traffic Control Centres around the world currently deal with up to 100,000 flights a day with a growing need for additional capacity. Europe`s major challenge is to develop an efficient transport system to handle 3 times more flights in the next 20 years safely and securely whilst reducing delays to less than 15 minutes for 99 per cent of the flights, as outlined in the EC-sponsored report European Aeronautics: A Vision for 2020. With its closely-spaced population centres, the core of Europe has the world`s most challenging en-route airspace, where improved air traffic solutions are routinely pioneered, and later also used elsewhere.

In an unprecedented move, the alliance partners propose a plan for simultaneous integration and deployment of aircraft capabilities with highly automated ground air traffic control systems fully exploiting the potential of new technologies enabling co-operation between aircraft and control centres.

The open Air Traffic Alliance partners bring together for the first time the long-standing expertise and proven track records of world-class companies in the field of air transport and in managing complex programmes. Airbus will contribute its airliner expertise, EADS its expertise in satellites and other aerospace technologies, and Thales its widespread experience in air traffic management systems and onboard electronics. Each participant will thus bring the skills of its core business to the alliance through the formation of a joint team. In addition, the alliance intends to invite other major European partners to join shortly and then to open a dialogue with North American players.

With a clear objective to co-operate with airspace users, Air Traffic Services providers and all stakeholders, the open Air Traffic Alliance will address all activities from operational concept to large scale validation in different phases, the first starting as early as 2003.

The plan focuses on key areas such as:

  • real-time exchange and sharing of flight plan and trajectory data between airlines` operations centres, aircraft and ATC centres for maximum air traffic efficiency and fluidity,

  • datalink-enhanced air-to-air and air-to-ground surveillance for optimised separation between aircraft and maximum airspace capacity,

  • satellite-based navigation (GPS and Galileo) to reduce route spacing and improved all weather airport operations,

  • highly automated flight plan data processing supporting fully flexible aircraft routing and dynamic airspace management.

The goal is to improve the capacity, safety and security of air transport in a progressive and seamless way, while enhancing the compatibility with aircraft and ATC systems worldwide, and efficiency through optimised and environmentally friendly routings.

Theodore Koumelis
Co-Founder & Managing Director - Travel Media Applications | Website

Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.