SWIM: more than an acronym

Major progress has been made with Europe’s System Wide Information Management (SWIM), the intranet of the future air traffic management system.

At the second SWIM Demonstration day, on 15 November, airports, weather and volcanic ash information providers, airlines and air traffic control centres were able to exchange information instantaneously.

“This technical demonstration proved the agility and flexibility that SWIM will bring, allowing new collaboration between all actors in the system,” said SESAR.

The SESAR programme is the operational and technological solution to the challenges of upgrading European air traffic. The aim of the SESAR Joint Undertaking is to modernise European air traffic management by coordinating and concentrating all relevant research and development efforts in the European Union.

Today’s ATM system is a patchwork of different types of systems which do not necessarily communicate well one with another. The growing pressure on the aviation industry requires an efficient access to various forms of information, provided and exchanged using a secure and flexible system (an intranet). This is the objective of SWIM.

This second SWIM Demonstration day presented the capabilities of the SWIM technical infrastructure, designed and developed in the context of the SESAR Joint Undertaking work programme. SWIM founding principles of information sharing, service orientation, federation, open standards and information and service lifecycle management were all tested. SWIM enabled 11 different ATM organisations to quickly interconnect 27 prototypes and successfully exchange information on airspace, flights, airports and weather.

The demonstration clearly proved the benefits of SWIM and how its mature prototypes are ready for deployment in the near future, showing once more that SESAR brings tangible, deployable solutions. It showed that SWIM enable swift and economically efficient decision making by aviation actors, especially in case of crisis (bad weather, sudden runway closure, …) situations.

Fuelled by such success, the SWIM demonstration will be presented to a larger audience during SESAR workshop at World ATM Congress on 13 February.

SESAR Members and associate members directly involved in the SWIM Demonstration Day included DSNA/Meteo France, ENAV/IDS, EUROCONTROL, Frequentis, Honeywell, Indra, Lufthansa Systems, NATMIG, NATS, NORACON, SELEX Sistemi Integrati and Thales.

“The success of this technical demonstration confirms the key role of SWIM as a pillar of future ATM operations, as defined by SESAR. Now we are ready to validate SWIM operationally and move closer to deployment,” said Florian Guillermet, Deputy Executive Director Operations and Programme, SESAR JU.

For the demonstration, a fictitious scenario involving four flights was created to simulate different kinds of flight conditions: two departing from London and heading to Milan, and two others from Toulouse to Bremen. Two of these were active flights and two were planned flights.

At a given point in time, volcanic ash clouds were simulated. Both Volcanic Ash Mass Concentration service providers detected them and shared the relevant information immediately. The Area Control Centres closed the impacted part of the airspace and published digital NOTAMs (“Notice To Airmen”) announcing the airspace closure. The two active flights were re-routed while the two planned flights were re-planned.

Later, severe snow disrupted airports in Milan and Bremen, leading to a reduction in airport capacity. To make matters worse, the fall of a crane at Bremen airport led to the closure of a runway. Corresponding digital NOTAMs were provided by the Aeronautical Information Service and flights arriving at Bremen airport were rerouted or re-planned to Hamburg. All information was seamlessly updated between the relevant systems.


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