|NEWSLETTER - SPRING 2008|
the past year we have, as usual, been involved in some of the pressing
issues facing the aviation and rail industry today. In this latest
newsletter, we look at a few of the key areas and how we have
If you are interested in any of the issues and solutions discussed in this newsletter please contact us.
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Towards the Single European Sky
Unlike the United States, Europe does not have a single sky; i.e. one in which air navigation is managed at the European level. Instead, each state within the European area plans, manages and controls the airspace above its own territory. This fragmentation of the European sky has led to a lack of cohesion in regulatory frameworks, procedures, route design and so on, leading to inbuilt inefficiencies in the ATM network. These inefficiencies make it difficult for the system to keep pace with increasing demand, to maintain delays at a manageable level and to enable flights to operate with minimum fuel usage.
The European Commission's answer to these problems is the creation of the Single European Sky. The initiative is a legislative approach to solving the issues that currently affect air transport as well as enabling ATM to cope with future demands and providing a more consolidated approach to European air traffic management.
Governments, regulators and ANS providers across Europe are now actively engaged in working out how to implement the wide-ranging requirements of this EC legislation. Significant change such as this is not easy to implement. Our recent experience indicates that organisations face a real challenge in moving their thinking away from providing the technicalities of air traffic operations towards defining and implementing the range of organisations needed to run the modern service.
SESAR (Single European Sky ATM Research) is a programme set up to develop a new generation of ATM systems in Europe. European level strategic planning for ATM development is not new - EUROCONTROL has had a long term ATM Strategy since January 2000. In SESAR, however, we see for the first time contributions to the plan from a wide range of stakeholders including major ANSPs, military and industry stakeholders. In theory, therefore, the resulting plans should have the commitment of all European ATM stakeholders.
The first phase, the definition phase, is nearly complete. Deliverable 4 "The ATM Deployment Sequence" has recently been released detailing the implementation packages needed to transition to the long term ATM Target Concept described in deliverable D3. The final result of the definition phase will be the publication of the "European Air Traffic Management Master Plan" together with a detailed work programme for 2008-2013.
Icon have been providing expertise in the management of strategic information throughout the definition of the ATM Master Plan by SESAR.
We are currently involved in the specification and development of the web based information systems that will be used for the presentation and future maintenance of the strategic information contained within the ATM Master Plan.
The second, development, phase has just started, with the setting up of the SESAR Joint Undertaking. The SESAR JU will carry out research, development and validation activities required in order to create new equipment, systems or standards in order to implement the European ATM Master Plan. The SESAR JU will include members from the European Commission, EUROCONTROL and public or private organisations with links to the industry.
Reconfiguring airspace into Functional Airspace Blocks, which can contain airspace from more than one State, is seen as being a key step towards a Single European Sky. The aim is to design and manage airspace within a FAB based on operational requirements and regardless of existing boundaries. The intention is to reduce fragmentation of ATM provision and enable maximum capacity and efficiency of the ATM network. In addition, common principles, procedures and systems will be developed for a FAB to ensure a consistent approach to safety while improving cost effectiveness.
A number of FAB initiatives are underway, but progress is slow with most initiatives still at the feasibility stage. The Communication from the Commission in December 2007, which looks at progress of Single Sky legislation, recognises that the creation of FABs is a new challenge with significant technical and organisational difficulties. The report suggests that political issues between States do not need to prevent the creation of FABs nor improvements to cost, efficiency of service provision or improvements to route design.
We at Icon are well aware of the issues, and the potential solutions, through direct involvement with the successful feasibility study for the FAB for Central Europe (FAB CE).
Creation of a FAB involves major structural changes at every level and in every aspect of the provision and regulation of Air Navigation Services in each participating State. It is necessary to consider civil and military operational concepts, technical infrastructure, institutional, legal and regulatory requirements, governance structure, safety impact, financial issues and human resource and social impacts. Icon has demonstrated its ability to consider all these aspects and bring them together in a coherent plan.
Dynamic Management of the European Airspace Network
DMEAN is a medium term programme aimed at taking the European ATM network to a higher level of capacity and efficiency through sharing network information, improving the collaboration between the Airspace Management and Air Traffic Flow and Capacity Management functions and providing a seamless process from planning to operations.
A key aspect to the DMEAN programme is enhanced network information sharing, facilitated by a number of data repositories.
Icon has been working with EUROCONTROL to produce business cases for two of these - the Demand Data Repository and the Airspace Data Repository. The business cases clarify the purpose and expected benefits of the two databases as well as further developing architecture options from previous work. The assessment of the architecture and operating options vitally included the impact on EUROCONTROL and stakeholder legacy systems, roles and responsibilities as well as considering costs and performance.
Together, the data repositories provide a continuously updated picture of the entire European network that will enable airspace users to foresee the bottlenecks that remain and decide for themselves whether to accept a delay on their preferred route or take an alternate route that circumnavigates the congested area and avoids the delay.
Environmental Impact Assessment Framework
The last few years has seen an increase of pressure on companies to reduce their impact on the environment. The challenge for the transport sector is to reduce emissions even though transport continues to experience global growth. For aviation in particular, there is pressure to improve local air quality, regional air quality and noise as well as to reduce the impact on "Global Warming" or "Climate Change".
Actions to be considered to reduce emissions include changing operating procedures, using existing routes more efficiently and improving infrastructure to reduce distances travelled and traffic congestion.
Icon have developed an Environmental Impact Assessment Framework for Aviation which can be used to assess the environmental impact of operational or other changes without needing to use expensive modelling tools. The framework, which is tailored to the particular situation, looks at the impact of the planned change on emissions and the target improvements at each phase of flight.
The framework has been applied successfully to the Initial Environmental Impact Assessment for DMEAN (Dynamic Management of the European Airspace Network). Further details of the framework are included in a summary report
Within aviation, safety must always be considered. There are well established, standardised methodologies, processes and procedures for making safety case assessments during system development and for safety incident reporting and investigation during operation.
Icon has worked with EUROCONTROL and Deep Blue to develop a process to include safety aspects into cost benefit analyses. The process identifies those safety aspects which have potential economic impact and translates them into cost benefit items with a qualitative assessment of scale for input into standard cost benefit assessment techniques such as EMOSIA.
The approach builds on EUROCONTROL's existing safety assessment
approaches, Safety Fundamentals and Safety Screening.
A summary report on the process is on our website.
Long Term Transport Strategies
When it comes to forward planning, many organisations are facing similar issues which need to be taken into account when planning for the future. For example, both the aviation and railways industries are thinking about reducing environmental impacts, improving the management of infrastructure and maintaining or improving safety standards that we have briefly talked about above.
In addition to these major issues, the shape of the market is changing. People are living longer and the expectations and needs of an 'aging' population that is comfortable with technology and mobile communications, and which expects, to travel have implications on the services offered. There can also be an impact on the workforce, with people working to a greater age. Internal strategies need to consider how best to offer opportunities which make use of their employees' experience while continuing to manage costs.
Over the last few years, many airlines have seen the benefit of consolidating fleets of aircraft and support vehicles - common operating procedures, more flexibility in allocation of both pilots and vehicles and a reduction to maintenance costs through off-the shelf parts bought in larger numbers. Railways are now also considering the impact of standardised design and build of track, joint and crossing points on costs, and whether the benefits of preventative maintenance can outweigh the costs.
Icon continues to help organisations to respond to changing market conditions through our expertise in market evaluation, business strategy and organisation design. We continue to support organisations making complex decisions, drawing on a range of problem structuring, data analysis, business modelling and options evaluation techniques. Our experience of programme management, project management, change management and performance management is being used to support organisations wishing to turn decisions into implemented actions.