Mariagrazia La Piscopia
ATM Magazine had the opportunity to meet with Mariagrazia La Piscopia, Executive Director, SESAR Deployment Manager during Airspace World to discuss her thoughts on some of the key priorities in our industry after nine months in the role.

Europe for Aviation

We began our discussion with a look at the Europe for Aviation theatre programme. The good news is that the Common Project One (CP1) regulation and related SESAR Deployment Programme is working well. There is strong support from the industry stakeholders and currently 85% are in compliance with the 2022 deadlines. The expectation is that by the end of the year 95-97% will be in compliance. During the event, the Europe For Aviation partners provided presentations on many topics currently in focus for aviation - sustainability, artificial intelligence, ATM network operations, ATM regulatory developments, civil-military cooperation, digitalisation, evolution of the European CNS infrastructure including EGNOS, higher airspace operations, U-space implementation, space and ATM and virtual centres.

Of course, there are still challenges to be addressed to keep all organisations working together to achieve the goals of modernisation, sustainability and resilience within the European airspace. There are three projects which reinforce this way of working together across these teams:

  1. SWIM data sharing and the use of datalink and multilink
  2. Initial trajectory sharing
  3. Collaboration with EUROCAE, EASA, SESARJU and the EUROCONTROL Network Manager

Program accountability needs to continue to be prioritised to ensure we are moving forward in achieving desired outcomes. Regular meetings are held to share progress updates and efforts are being made to involve more operational stakeholders, as there are different perspectives across the members of SESAR Deployment Manager: 14 ANSPs, 4 airlines, the airports represented by ACI Europe and the Network Manager to be taken into account.

Key aviation priorities

There are three areas of focus that we touched on during our discussion – sustainability, civil/military cooperation and digitisation.

Starting with sustainability, the industry needs to be prepared for Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), and further into the future hydrogen, to become the norm. We need to demonstrate that as an industry we take these topics seriously and are making changes to address the environmental impact of aviation. One example of a project we are working on is the simulation of a gate-to-gate ideal flight that crosses borders within Europe. We have seen in our simulation that – when a flight makes use of all Common Project 1 technologies – up to 190kg of fuel can be saved, which results in a reduction of 600kg of CO2. This is per flight and if you consider the number of daily flights, these positive figures will add up really quickly. As mentioned this was a simulation, the average flight is about double the distance that was simulated, taking potential savings up to around 1,000kg of CO2 reduced or 60% of the excess emissions. This is great news for environmental improvements.

Civil/military cooperation has always been important and as you can imagine given recent world events has become an even higher priority. The key topics we are working on here include improved data sharing, increasing flexibility in airspace management. There is a great collaboration with the European Defence Agency with whom we conduct regular meetings.

Digitisation is essential for aviation. You can look over the changes in the last ten years and see the difference in our ways of working within ACCs and towers. With new ATCO tools we have increased efficiency and looking ahead it will be interesting to see where we are ten years from now.

New airspace entrants

Although the SESAR Deployment Manager is not currently working on these topics since by EU regulation, only deployment is within their remit, these are exiting times and we are certainly keeping abreast of what might come for the future. We need to have clear rules how integrate UTM within existing ATM responsibilities, processes and tools. Infrastructure for vertiports will have implications to our airports, cities and public transportation. The evolution of these topics needs to be gradual enough to ensure the continued priority of aviation safety.

“All of these topics would be impossible without the collaboration of our stakeholders,” shared Mariagrazia La Piscopia, as her final thought during our discussion.