Dutch hail debut of civil/military joint ATC ops

Dutch civil and military air traffic controllers are now working shoulder to shoulder from Schiphol-Oost, laying the foundation for a more efficient use of Dutch airspace.

After years of preparation, the air traffic controllers of the Netherlands’ Air Force Command (CLSK) have moved to Air Traffic Control the Netherlands (LVNL) at Schiphol-Oost.

Dutch infrastructure minister Van Nieuwenhuizen and state defence secretary Visser paid a working visit to the new ‘operations room’ on January 8.

This civil-military co-location is one of the biggest changes in air traffic control in the Netherlands and was co-financed by the Connecting Europe Facility of the European Union.

It will contribute significantly to more efficient use of the airspace and thus provides a solid foundation for the reclassification of Dutch airspace.

From Schiphol-Oost, both civil and military air traffic is now handled to a height of approximately 7.5 km via a single air traffic control system. For the higher altitude, military air traffic control has been integrated with Eurocontrol’s Maastricht Upper Area Control Center (MUAC) since April 2017. The Netherlands has two air traffic control centres instead of three.

Minister Van Nieuwenhuizen during her visit said: “The airspace resource is scarce and we have to make the most of this together. This is also a big step forward for the reclassification of airspace, which we are working hard on together.”

Visser said the co-location represents a fine example of collaboration. “This co-location forms the start of an intensive cooperation between defence and civil aviation. It is a co-operation that ensures that our defence training area remains sufficiently large. But it also ensures that civil aviation can use that airspace if the Ministry of Defense is not operating in it. A win-win situation.”

Michiel van Dorst, chief executive of LVNL and Lieutenant General Dennis Luyt, commander of the Dutch Air Force, said they were proud of this close collaboration. Van Dorst said: “The co-location is an important step forward. In daily operations we are working better together and in the future it will allow us to make developments possible, including the reclassification of the airspace.”

Luyt added: “The co-location ensures that we are able to achieve safe, efficient and cost-effective airspace use above the Netherlands through strong interaction. I am proud of our joint transition capacity and our professionalism.”

The military traffic controllers will remain part of the Air Operations Control Station of the Air Force Command although are in fact back to where they once started – at Schiphol. The close cooperation with the military combat leadership, which currently maintains its home base at the current location at Nieuw-Milligen near Apeldoorn, will remain.

Posted in Airspace, CAAs/ANSPs, Military ATC, News

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