Air traffic control providers to manage Belgian airspace with one single system
skeyes, Belgian Defence and EUROCONTROL’s Maastricht Upper Area Control Centre (MUAC) intend to use the same system for Air Traffic Management as from 2024. With one single technical solution, services to airspace users in Belgian airspace will be much more efficient. Today, the three parties signed a Letter of Intent to make headway with this objective.
November 29, 2018
skeyes and Belgian Defence expressed the joint ambition to provide integrated civil-military Air Navigation Services in Belgian airspace by 2030, with high reliability and efficiency. From its air traffic control centre located at Maastricht, EUROCONTROL MUAC already provides seamless, integrated civil-military Air Navigation Services in the upper airspace of the Benelux countries and north-west Germany.
A Shared civil-military Air Traffic Management System (SAS) would support this objective and would be a strong enabler to cope with capacity and cost-efficiency challenges in Belgian airspace. It would also support the deployment of an efficient and effective external contingency solution in the event of a failure of one of the facilities providing technical services.
Currently, the three organisations controlling Belgian airspace – skeyes, Belgian Defence and EUROCONTROL MUAC – use different Air Traffic Management systems. Enhanced cooperation on services will be enabled through the convergence of the systems.
In 2019, Belgian Defence will replace its Air Traffic Management system by a Shared Air Traffic Management System (SAS2) - the same as EUROCONTROL MUAC’s. In a second phase, skeyes intends to replace its Air Traffic Management System by a Shared Air Traffic Management System (SAS3) solution. This would result in a single system used by all three parties providing Air Navigation Services in Belgian airspace. In order to meet this objective, the three parties will carry out a joint study for a possible future implementation of an SAS3 solution.
Johan Decuyper, CEO of skeyes: “We have already taken important steps in the integration of civil and military air traffic control management. By the end of 2019, the military air traffic control centre will move to the skeyes facility in Steenokkerzeel. A shared Air Traffic Management System for skeyes, Belgian Defence and EUROCONTROL MUAC will be the next step towards enhanced integration of service provision, with significant benefits for our customers in terms of safety, capacity, efficiency and reliability.”
Major General Frédéric Goetynck, Chief of the Division Communications and Infrastructure, and Major General Frederik Vansina, Air Component Commander, from Belgian Defense: “We can only confirm these advantages. Having the three air navigation service providers in the Belgian airspace working on the same system will also ensure a smoother coordination and communication which will benefit the flight safety.”
John Santurbano, Director of EUROCONTROL MUAC concluded: “Data Services is the solution for addressing Air Traffic Management system fragmentation across Europe. In the past, EUROCONTROL MUAC successfully implemented similar solutions for military partners. We are now ready and keen to embark on a similar challenge with one of our key civil partners in the core area of Europe. A Shared Air Traffic Management System will be essential to improving the current cost-efficiency and capacity challenges.”
skeyes ensures the safety and efficiency of air traffic in Belgium 24/7. The skeyes air traffic controllers manage over 3,000 aircraft every day, which makes up over a million flight movements per year. The autonomous public company is active at the heart of Europe, in one of the busiest and most complex sections of airspace of the continent. skeyes is active at Brussels Airport and at the airports of Antwerp, Charleroi, Kortrijk, Liège and Ostend. Thanks to its CANAC 2 control centre, skeyes manages the flight movements above Belgium and a part of Luxembourg up to an altitude of 7,500 metres.
The company relies on its nearly 900 experienced staff members, who are at the service of their customers: airline companies, airports, the aviation sector and the authorities. skeyes is also developing innovating services for drones and is contributing to a sustainable future for the aviation sector, in particular with respect to the environment.
skeyes is a member of FABEC, a joint airspace block (Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Germany, France and Switzerland), which aims to improve air navigation efficiency in the heart of Europe within the framework of the Single European Sky. www.skeyes.be
About EUROCONTROL’s Maastricht Upper Area Control Centre (MUAC)
Operated by EUROCONTROL on behalf of four States, EUROCONTROL MUAC provides control for the upper airspace (above 24,500 feet, i.e. approximately 7,500 metres) of Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and north-west Germany. The international area of responsibility it covers is a perfect example of the simplification and harmonisation of airspace in Europe. MUAC is a model for cross-border projects in the spirit of the Single European Sky. Close to 2 million flights pass through MUAC’s area of responsibility each year, making it the third busiest air traffic control facility in Europe in terms of traffic volume. During the summer, peak days see more than 5,700 flights. www.eurocontrol.int/muac
Mireille Roman, EUROCONTROL MUAC, [email protected], T: +31 43 366 1352
Zeynep Dinsi, EUROCONTROL MUAC, [email protected], T: +31 43 366 1501