The contract was signed last December and includes access to NAV's software, the license of use, and training for Hungarian teams. The signing of the contract with the Hungarian provider comes just a few months after NAV signed a similar agreement with BULATSA, Bulgaria's ANSP. MARIA has aroused the interest of several NAV Portugal counterparts, such as the ones from Germany, Slovakia, Spain, or Austria, and this project has been recognized and supported by EUROCONTROL and already applied at the Hamburg Control Tower.

At NAV Portugal, MARIA is used in all bodies gathered in the Lisbon Flight Information Region (Lisbon Control Center and the control towers of Porto, Lisbon, Cascais, Faro, Porto Santo, and Funchal), as well as in Ocean Control in Santa Maria and the control tower of the same airport. MARIA is used both for safety assessments and for the description of functional systems and possible changes.

MARIA makes it possible to assess the impacts that technical, operational, or procedural changes in each area have on the others, allowing, at an early stage, the containment of unwanted effects, improving the effectiveness of safety assessments.

“NAV Portugal is proud to share the MARIA model with HungaroControl. We hope this first step is successful and opens the way for future cooperation”, commented Paula Santos, from NAV Portugal’s Studies and Projects Office and the responsible for the MARIA project, regarding the agreement with the Hungarian provider.

Mihály Kurucz, Director of Safety & Quality Management and Internal Audit at HungaroControl, explained that “according to our expectations, MARIA will provide advantages in several areas such as safety risk assessment and monitoring. As the model brings a holistic overview of the functional system, it supports the scoping of changes, and gives a common reference for risk assessments to gain a more sophisticated and systematic result. From monitoring point of view, it allows us to link recent issues to past changes. Thus makes us able to validate the results of concerned safety assessments more objectively”.

In addition to the recognition of the peers themselves, the MARIA project was also recognized by CANSO, in 2019, as one of the eight projects that most contributed to the reduction of risks in aviation.

Created from scratch by NAV Portugal since 2012, the project was initially based on a series of interviews with managers and users of air traffic control systems, complemented by the observation of real operations, and has evolved over the years as a result of its use. MARIA aims to compile and systematise information mainly from the air traffic control system, including not only the functions for which NAV is solely responsible but also those from the community with which ANSP interacts.

The model documents the interdependencies between functions, information streams, resources, and procedures from different areas, along with applicable national and international regulations. 

In view of the way in which this model was developed and the interest that it has stirred since the beginning, NAV Portugal is willing to share and support the implementation of the Model of ATM Reality in Action at other ANSP and is now finalising bids for its supply to other countries.