EUROCONTROL, a pan-European, civil-military organisation dedicated to supporting European aviation, and DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung (DFS), the German air navigation service provider, have taken a further step that will support seamless and efficient air traffic services just in time for the rise in summer air traffic and the recovery to pre-pandemic levels. The integrated flow management position (iFMP) developed and used at the EUROCONTROL Maastricht Upper Area Control Centre (MUAC) is now operational at the Karlsruhe Upper Area Control Centre (KUAC) of DFS.

The tool represents one of several operational milestones of a far-reaching cooperation agreement between EUROCONTROL and DFS, named Maastricht and Karlsruhe Networks (MAKAN). MAKAN aims to further harmonise air navigation services for the upper airspace in the heart of Europe through technical and operational convergence. It is an essential component for a uniform air traffic management in the Benelux and Germany which represents one the most complex airspaces in the world, with some of the largest European airports. 

By using iFMP as an integrated flow and capacity management tool, both our facilities will be making the most out of their scarce resources - personnel and airspace. DFS and MUAC both share a common vision of excellence in air traffic management and are keen on developing innovative cross-border solutions. I am delighted to see the first concrete development towards our strategic objectives,” said John Santurbano, Director of MUAC.

"In our cooperation with MUAC, we are pointing the way forward in Europe with this latest step. We are demonstrating that we can quickly and pragmatically implement and deploy ideas and developments within the framework of MAKAN and thus ensure further harmonised and efficient air traffic services," said Arndt Schoenemann, DFS CEO.

At Maastricht, the iFMP system has served as the main decision-making technology for air traffic flow and capacity management (ATFCM) since 2016, bringing significant benefits to airspace users. The tool offers traffic prediction, sector configuration, complexity and airspace management, and enables full digital data exchange between air navigation service providers (ANSPs) and the Network Manager. NM has also actively supported the deployment of iFMP at KUAC by providing data via its B2B infrastructure. At Karlsruhe, iFMP will be primarily used to balance the sector workload for air traffic controllers. 

MAKAN will ultimately deliver a common system platform, based on a virtual infrastructure which provides services and software solutions for both facilities (MUAC and KUAC), and which can also be potentially made available to third parties in the long term.

Sharing technology and expertise for leading-edge air traffic flow and capacity management as well as airspace management will enable improved flight profiles and traffic handling. 

The optimisation of the joint airspace boundaries between the two upper area control centres completed early 2022 and the ongoing cross-border free route airspace MUAC – KUAC project, due to finish at the end 2023, also serve this purpose.

EUROCONTROL and DFS will work on further developments, providing a solid basis for better air traffic management in the airspaces of both UACs in the years to come.