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Virtual centres – gateways to more flexible air traffic services

A new virtual centre concept enables more flexible organisation of air traffic control operations.

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To meet the challenges with mostly country-based systems and processes within air traffic management (ATM) in Europe today, SESAR has developed a new virtual centre concept. This refers to the data services, such as flight data, radar, and weather information, from the physical controller working position (CWP).

The concept aims to enable more flexible organisation of air traffic control operations by delegating airspaces amongst air traffic service units (ATSUs). By doing so the virtual centres can support air traffic service capacity on demand.

The SESAR project «Virtual Centre» (PJ32-W3 VC) addresses delegation both on air traffic controller (ATCO) and air traffic flow and capacity management (ATFCM) level. SINTEF has contributed to the operational challenges in the project, including supporting project partner ENAV in their exercise addressing contingency delegation of ATSU services and Civil/Military airspace delegation.

The operational and technical feasibility and benefits of «virtual centre» have been confirmed in human-in the-loop real-time simulation exercises and fast-time simulations.

SESAR Joint Undertaking

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Project duration

2021 - 2023

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This project has received funding from the SESAR Joint Undertaking under the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101017587. The JU receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and the SESAR JU members other than the Union.