Indra, a leading global technological engineering company for the aerospace, defence and mobility sectors, has been awarded a strategically important contract by Direction des Services de la Navigation Aérienne (DSNA) who is in charge of air traffic control in the French airspace. Indra is modernizing the ground surveillance system (A-SMGCS) at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport to ensure reliable operations and minimize delays and cancellations.

Head of CDG ATC Systems Department at DSNA, Laurent Giger, explains: “Our current capacity allows for the arrival of 73 flights and departure of 76 flights per hour, but if we are forced to use the fallback system, we can only accommodate 30 arrivals per hour, which would result in cancellations. With the upgrade, however, we can accommodate 48 arrivals even with the fallback system, which may lead to some delays but not cancellations.”

Paris Charles-de-Gaulle is one of few airports in the world where three aircraft can depart or land simultaneously. The airport is amongst the busiest in the world, with 67 million passengers in 2023. The complexity with four parallel runways, four control towers and 36 operational controller working positions makes it critical for DSNA’s air traffic controllers to have a precise overview of the ground operations.

Many of the world’s largest airports operate with Indra’s InNOVA ground surveillance systems. The InNOVA system retrieves information about all flight and vehicular traffic in the air and on the ground from ground Surveillance Movement Radars (SMRs), MLAT, and other sensors. Indra’s best-in-class tracking technology analyses and processes the data, refining the information, and displays it to operators to include only what truly matters. The process of sifting out unwanted “noise” reduces disturbances caused by false targets, thereby increasing operational efficiency and controllers’ situational awareness – and ultimately improving safety at busy airports. With the upgrade, DSNA’s controllers will benefit from the latest generation of this technology, with advanced tracking, labelling and classification of relevant objects.

DSNA has used Indra’s ground surveillance system since 1997. The modernization comes as Paris is preparing its infrastructure for the Olympic Games and the site acceptance test for the first step was approved in mid-March 2024. DSNA will by the end of the modernization project have a state-of-the-art system that is ready to adopt advanced safety functionalities as outlined by EU in the Common Project 1.