Performance

In the SESAR CEO Survey 2016 Air Traffic Management magazine has comprehensively surveyed the senior leadership within the European industry on SESAR deployment and the prospects for success.

The performance scheme and charging regulation regimes are designed to drive performance improvements. What impact should they have on deployment? Should the SESAR Deployment Manager (SDM) be prioritising SESAR technologies which actively help drive down air navigation services provider (ANSP) costs?

Dragan Bilać, Croatia Control The purpose of the Pilot Common Project (PCP) is to achieve better synchronisation and performance improvements in the European network. On the other side, deployment of new ATM functionalities requires significant investment and effort. The SDM should prioritise SESAR technologies and achievements which would help to make performance improvements.

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Maurice Georges, DSNA Each project proposed within SESAR deployment should not only demonstrate compliance to the PCP but also its contribution to the performance of the Single European Sky (SES).

Tanel Rautits, EANS There is no real connection between the performance scheme and deployment, at least not in the first phases. You cannot make massive investments in systems and expect charges to drop. If there is any gain/benefit, then it will be in the reduction of delays and in the increase of capacity and safety.

Ángel Luis Arias Serrano, ENAIRE It is clear that the PCP establishes a very ambitious set of binding operational and technical improvements for European ANSPs. According to the PCP global cost benefit analysis, assuming an ‘on-time’ and ‘synchronised’ deployment of the PCP and the achievement of targeted performance objectives, the implementation of the PCP would generate a positive NPV of €2.4 billion over the period 2014 to 2030 for the entire community.

Specific stakeholder business cases confirm that the PCP will generate positive value for civil airspace users; however, scheduled airlines will benefit the most. Due to the nature of their business, the financial cost of the PCP cannot be offset by benefits for service providers (ANSPs, airports) as well as for the Network Manager (NM) or for the military seen in isolation. In particular, ANSPs’ net present value (NPV) figure results in a negative result of -€0.44 billion.

In such binding context it is essential to assure EU funding to support all ANSP investments related to the PCP in order to allow filling the time gap between their investment decisions and the deadlines set by the PCP regulation. It should be considered that ANSP investment has to be balanced between the boundaries of the historical volume of a ANSP’s capex and the need for it to prioritise its investments in order to reach its second reference period performance (RP2) targets.

Eamonn Brennan, IAA The performance scheme and charging regulation may be designed to drive performance improvements but they frequently do not give credit for good performance already delivered. They have an expectation that all States must make a contribution to the Union-wide targets, whether or not they are already high performing organisations. It might deliver better value if they were to focus their efforts on those States whose performance is worse than the average as this would drive the average down over time and provide an incentive to all States to improve their performance to ensure that they remained better than average.

The SDM should prioritise the introduction of technologies which add value to the network and its users by enhancing efficiency and/or reducing costs where practicable. Examples of these include remote towers in a multiple aerodrome configuration project which is developing technology and procedures to allow the remote provision of tower ATM services simultaneously for multiple airports from a single Controller Working Position. Another example is the Aireon space-based ADS-B system which will provide seamless global surveillance coverage and can offer a lower cost alternative to ground based surveillance platforms and contingency solutions.

The SDM should not however embark on any course of action which makes it more difficult for FABs, the States and their ANSPs to achieve or exceed RP2 targets.

Kornél Szepessy, HungaroControl As the SDM is composed of operational stakeholders, I would not support empowering this organisation alone to decide on the prioritisation of SESAR projects. This should be done on a larger scale involving all the parties affected – the NM, SESAR Joint Undertaking (SJU), Eurocontrol, etc. as well as all implementing partners of the SDM.

Olle Sundin, LFV I need to state one thing and that is what largely prevents many state-owned ANSPs procuring and co-operating in the most efficient way are the procurement barriers, i.e. the inflexible public procurement rules!

I also believe that the market will choose the technologies to the greatest extent possible but in this area the SDM can play a role in facilitating the selection of technologies.

Martin Rolfe, NATS We appreciate that cost reduction is a major focus for our customers and of course that is undeniably important. However, cost efficiency is just one dimension and we cannot take for granted other dimensions such as safety, capacity and environmental performance. In many cases we can save at least as much money for the airlines by improving the efficiency of their flights and so reducing fuel burn. What matters is the right dialogue between the ANSPs and their customers to ensure that the effect of trade-offs between investments is known and understood on their operations both now and in the immediate future. This should then influence the Deployment Programme (DP) that the SDM will manage and report on.

Morten Dambaek, Naviair When it comes to performance, medium-sized ANSPs have shown that it is possible to deliver high quality of service with no delay and at low cost. One of the reasons for this is the constant focus on practical solutions with a good cost/benefit and the ability to work together with everybody.

We have learned this via the COOPANS Alliance, where we now have completely identical ATM software in seven different area control centres throughout five European countries. And at the same time the COOPANS system is considered state-of-art, supporting among other things, Free Route, MTCD and 4D Trajectory. Things that are either part of SESAR 2020 or SDM’s DP.

The latest initiative that will increase safety and reduce cost is Aireon. A company founded by Nav Canada, ENAV, IAA and Naviair together with Iridium and Harris, that via satellite ADS-B will change the game in the ATM business, especially in remote areas. From 2018 it will be possible to add ATM surveillance at very low cost compared to providing conventional surveillance technology.

Magda Jaworska, PANSA On the one hand, the SES regulations – in particular the charging regulation – have a fundamental impact on deployment, enabling or limiting ANSP capabilities.

On the other hand, both performance and charging regulation have to be taken into account by the investor ANSPs when taking investment decisions. But this will not be the sole responsibility of the SDM to prioritise SESAR technologies.

It starts from the SJU development phase, then is analysed for its potential inclusion in a Common Project, which features eventually in a DP. This is how the ATM Master Plan is designed. And at the end – it is for an investor to take business decisions that fit both performance expectations and his own investment calculations.

Again, we need to be always aware of the huge disparity in existing unit rate values. Deployment of new technologies can generate cost reductions, although where a break-even point is close to margin, such expectation is not valid.

Cârnu Fănică, ROMATSA In order to ensure proper financing of the SESAR deployment changes may be needed in the SES performance and charging legislation that should move from current linear cost reduction requirements to a different approach of reaching cost efficiency targets.

Franc Županič, Slovenia Control The real impact of SESAR deployment, cost-wise as well as performance-wise – resulting in the expected reduction of ANSPs unit costs – will only be really visible from the third reference period onwards. The current arrangements with INEA co-financing opportunities are appropriate for balancing the needed investments and their reflection in performance and charging, changes in the DP should be used for prioritisation if needed.

Jan Klas, ANS CR The performance scheme and charging regulation did nothing to increase the motivation for ANSPs to be more effective, better performing or cheaper. Rather I would say that it had a contrary effect, motivating the ANSP to create an ‘underperformance buffer’ at the beginning of each reference period in order to fulfil the conditions set during the period in question.

This was the real motivation while the actual attitude was different in the case of each and every ANSP. Finance from SESAR funds cannot actually motivate an ANSP. It can improve their financial position at the time of the receipt of the funds but this cannot be considered to be driving efficiency.

Moreover, these funds actually limit the basis for cost of capital – and thus profit – calculations which mitigates the motivation to achieve higher profits within the existing system. While the actual contribution of SESAR is more in harmonising the technology and service provision, it features no economic motivation for a well-managed ANSP with an adequate financial position and reserves.

Anders Kirsebom, Avinor It is important to recognise that the Performance Scheme covers four key performance areas (KPA) namely safety, capacity, cost efficiency and environment. SESAR is the technical pillar which shall support the aviation business reaching the overall goals set by the European Commission (EC) related to all the four KPAs.

We are of course all the time looking for possibilities to reduce our costs and would welcome any initiative that could help us to provide a cheaper service to our customers. Even though, one must not forget that we need to achieve the high level goals for the other three KPAs as well.

Johan Decuyper, Belgocontrol The performance scheme and charging regulation was indeed designed with the intention to drive performance improvements. Today some experience exists with the performance scheme and one can rightfully question how effective the scheme is to drive improvements for very different KPAs: capacity/delay, flight efficiency, safety, environment, and cost.

Improved operational performance and reduced cost do not always go hand in hand. The DP implements ATM functionalities which were analysed for their contribution to performance. The SDM has to support the implementation of the PCP Implementing Regulation and its role is not to prioritise actions which reduce ANSP costs.

Georgi Peev, BULATSA The performance and the charging regulations provide an effective toolbox to drive performance improvements. The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) financing mechanism is another way to ultimately drive ANSP costs downward.

A point worth mentioning here is the need to better align the performance scheme and SESAR deployment agendas because they are interlinked in a way. But this is not up to the SDM but rather the EC.

The SDM should focus on the deployment of all projects which are mature for implementation and which are backed by a sound safety and financial justification. SESAR deployment needs to demonstrate cost-efficiency, while respecting safety standards. After all, performance would be lost if safety suffered – even at a very low ANS cost.

Klaus-Dieter Scheurle, DFS ANSPs are bound by the performance requirements and targets of the SES performance scheme. In order to guarantee the long-term success of the implementation of the SESAR technology, it definitely needs to assist ANSPs to reach the performance targets.

For that purpose, each SESAR technology implementation has to demonstrate that it improves the capability of ANSPs in meeting the performance targets via a positive cost-benefit analysis. The SDM plays the key role in assessing the SESAR technology according to its performance relevance and should indeed prioritise the projects according to their SES performance contribution.

It is important that the SESAR performance goals or targets are fully aligned with the SES performance targets being applied within the framework of the EC Regulation 390/2013.

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