Eurocontrol datalink bid hits dead-end

Brussels has weighed in on the contentious issue of how to proceed with getting the troubled datalink project back on track.

Download your copy of Air Traffic Management using the free app!

The cornerstone enabler for 4D trajectory flight was judged to be technically unusable due to dangerous system overloads and radio interference

A study published earlier this year by technical experts at the SESAR Joint Undertaking (SJU) demonstrated that the technology which Europe had adopted is already near to exceeding its capacity limits and concluded that Europe now needs to adopt a multi-frequency approach as a matter of priority.

A year earlier the A6 Alliance of European air navigation service providers had secured European funding to define the best way to provide datalink. It was at that time agreed that alliance members and Eurocontrol – which had earmarked providing datalink as a future centralised service (termed CS9) – would hold joint talks on hammering out the technical, organisational and governance requirements.

The partners were also charged with determining the most appropriate business model for such services, including a full cost-benefit analysis. It now appears that the Eurocontrol strategy for the CS9 process to lead the deployment has hit a dead-end after the alliance raised concerns over the approach taken by the Brussels-based organisation.

Concerns focussed on Eurocontrol’s latest proposal which featured only a superficial cost benefit analysis and lacked a full assessment of the economic impact of any centralisation of what is termed European Air/Ground Data Communication Services (EAGDCS).

The European Commission therefore drafted a decision that was ratified last month at the Council of Ministers which instructed member states on the policy they must adopt at the Eurocontrol Permanent Commission going forward. This body represents member states at ministerial level and formulates general policy.

It still wants the EU member states’ air navigation service providers to collaborate with Eurocontrol on the development of a technology demonstrator but additionally directs them;

  • to take full account of technical work performed by the SJU on the demonstrator so it avoids any ‘misalignment’ between ongoing and possible future work of itself and Eurocontrol in the development of a future centralised service;
  • to ensure that EASA is involved given that the European aviation safety regulator will be in charge of the certification and oversight of any centrally provided service. “This should avoid potential mismatches in this area and thus ensure that funds, coming from route charges, but also from Union support, are spent most efficiently”;
  • to not pursue any framework governing the future procurement, deployment and operation of such a centralised service in the Single Sky region ‘so as to maximise cost efficiency’.
How will the A6 to work through the SDM as it proceeds to use CEF funding to develop datalink services and what does it plan to do outside on data link service provision: http://www.airtrafficmanagement.net/2015/02/a6-comms-projects-secure-ec-funding/ Due to the critical importance of Data Link for the implementation of i4D and the whole ATM Functionality #6 (Initial Trajectory Sharing), a sequenced and structured deployment of Data Link services is considered by the SESAR Deployment Manager (SDM) (and the A6) as an essential enabler towards the implementation of the entire Pilot Common Project, thus toward the achievement of the associated performance benefits. This opinion is entirely shared by the European Commission, which in September 2015 has explicitly tasked the SDM to define an overall Data Link Services Implementation Strategy. In order to address the EC request and identify how to solve the current fragmented implementation, the SDM has started dedicated activities aiming at defining a common implementation strategy for Data Link Services building on: •studies already performed (EASA Report, SJU Capacity Studies as well as A6 studies on New PENS and on the European Common Data Link Service Provision) • studies under finalization (SJU ELSA) • overall deployment picture and relevant information coming from CEF Call 2015 submitted projects. The SDM has therefore established and currently chairs a dedicated focus team, composed by its own technical experts, SESAR Joint Undertaking (SJU) and the Network Manager (NM), bringing together the most relevant technical and operational expertise on the subject. Furthermore, in order to directly involve operational stakeholders and reinforce their participation in the activities, the project leader of the proposed CEF Call 2015 multi-stakeholders project, called European Air-Ground Data Communication Service (EAGCDS), is participating in the focus team activities. It is also important to stress that EAGDCS project scope is to deploy the European Air-Ground Data Communication System for the delivery of Data Link Services to Users (ANSPs) in accordance with the outcomes of the A6 Study on "European Common Data Link Service Provision", with the EUROCONTROL feasibility studies for CS9-1 and CS9-2 and with the Data Link Services Implementation Regulatory Framework. The first meeting of the focus team has been held on April 7, a positive discussion has been initiated and the approach towards an implementation strategy is currently in the process of being developed pending the last results of SJU ELSA Study. Once consolidated, it will be shared and consulted with operational stakeholders before its inclusion in DP 2016 and final report to EC in September 2016.

How will the A6 work through the SDM as it proceeds to use CEF funding to develop datalink services?                                                                                                 A spokeswoman for the DFS-led A6 Alliance tells Air Traffic Management:
“Due to the critical importance of Data Link for the implementation of i4D and the whole ATM Functionality #6 (Initial Trajectory Sharing), a sequenced and structured deployment of Data Link services is considered by the SESAR Deployment Manager (SDM) and the A6 as an essential enabler towards the implementation of the entire Pilot Common Project, thus toward the achievement of the associated performance benefits.
This opinion is entirely shared by the European Commission, which in September 2015 explicitly tasked the SDM to define an overall Data Link Services Implementation Strategy.
In order to address the EC request and identify how to solve the current fragmented implementation, the SDM has started dedicated activities aiming at defining a common implementation strategy for Data Link Services building on:
• studies already performed (EASA Report, SJU Capacity Studies as well as A6 studies on New PENS and on the European Common Data Link Service Provision)
• studies under finalisation (SJU ELSA)
• overall deployment picture and relevant information coming from CEF Call 2015 submitted projects.
The SDM has therefore established and currently chairs a dedicated focus team, composed by its own technical experts, SESAR Joint Undertaking (SJU) and the Network Manager (NM), bringing together the most relevant technical and operational expertise on the subject.
Furthermore, in order to directly involve operational stakeholders and reinforce their participation in the activities, the project leader of the proposed CEF Call 2015 multi-stakeholders project, called European Air-Ground Data Communication Service (EAGCDS), is participating in the focus team activities. It is also important to stress that EAGDCS project scope is to deploy the European Air-Ground Data Communication System for the delivery of Data Link Services to Users (ANSPs) in accordance with the outcomes of the A6 Study on “European Common Data Link Service Provision”, with the EUROCONTROL feasibility studies for CS9-1 and CS9-2 and with the Data Link Services Implementation Regulatory Framework.
The first meeting of the focus team was held on April 7, a positive discussion has been initiated and the approach towards an implementation strategy is currently in the process of being developed pending the last results of SJU ELSA Study. Once consolidated, it will be shared and consulted with operational stakeholders before its inclusion in DP 2016 and final report to EC in September 2016.”

As one Brussels observer pointed out to Air Traffic Management: “CS9 is no more an option and its successor EAGDCS is now being pursued on the SESAR track as requested by the Commission.”

“This policy indicates that the Commission wants to closely manage the evolution of what Eurocontrol originally proposed as CS9 and for which the A6 has got [European] funding to do further work,” said another senior industry source.

He added that the datalink subject will be a good test of how the SESAR Deployment Manager will position itself compared to Eurocontrol. “It will be interesting to see what the A6 does through the Deployment Manager and what they do outside on datalink service provision. The Commission will no doubt control the Deployment Manager’s actions and datalink service provision is complicated enough to be a good test of the role they give it,” he said.

A spokesman for the SESAR Deployment Manager said: “The Council’s decision to be taken on behalf of the European Union on centralised services, is directed towards the technological and safety aspects of this issue. The SESAR Deployment Manager is not involved directly with this as is it not within the mandate we received from the European Commission. Presently, we are not ready to assess what the impact will be on deployment aspects.”

Read European datalink crippled by ATN capacity show-stopper

 

Posted in Communications, Innovation, News, Operations, SESAR Tagged with: , , ,

2 Responses to Eurocontrol datalink bid hits dead-end

  1. Gabriel says:

    EAGDCS is not a competing solution to CS9, but one evolved from CS9 and within which the A6 and EUROCONTRL are partners. Moreover, the SESAR Deployment Manager is a construct that makes “positioning itself compared to EUROCONTROL” an aberration.

    • Thierry says:

      What would have been interesting is to highlight that since European Commission has brought up the Sesar Deployment Manager for datalink, nothing has been moving / organized. No coordination anymore between the stakeholders… Nobody takes up the role of coordination. SDM only works according to project plans and not to the common interest to discuss and solve current issues.