• The first operational implementation of 4-FLIGHT, the En-Route management system at the East Area Control Centre (ACC), was inaugurated in Reims on December 8, 2022.
• 4-FLIGHT is a new-generation air-traffic control system designed to ensure a smoother flow of flights, while being more environmentally friendly. It is the result of the close collaboration between the French Air Navigation Service Provider (DSNA) and • Thales, the world leader provider in air traffic management.
• Marseille ACC has just implemented 4-FLIGHT on 6 December 2022. The next key steps are the extension to the other three En-Route centres by 2025.
As part of the modernization of France's air-traffic management system (ATM), Thales and the Direction des Services de la Navigation Aérienne (DSNA) inaugurated, in the presence of Clément BEAUNE, the French Minister of Transport, the first operational commissioning of the 4-FLIGHT system at the Reims ACC, the first deployment site for the program. This system, which takes into account the most recent regulatory requirements in terms of cybersecurity and safety, is one of the most advanced stripless Air Traffic Control systems in Europe.
4-FLIGHT comes equipped with an intuitive Human-Machine Interface (HMI), the latest generation of equipment, as well as innovative and sophisticated tools to support flight management and safety, making it one of the most advanced stripless Air Traffic Control systems in Europe for high-density airspace.
The advanced Flight Data Processing system, Coflight, at the heart of 4-FLIGHT, provides air traffic controllers with more accurate forecasts of 4D flight trajectories, enabling them to better optimize air routes and contribute to sustainable aviation. With Coflight, the controller has a better-planned and optimised aircraft trajectory, resulting in shorter flight times and lower fuel consumption and emissions.
With 4-FLIGHT, air traffic controllers can focus on their essential tasks, thus improving flight safety and efficiency.
4-FLIGHT, registered as a SESAR(1) Solution, is interoperable with other European air navigation systems and strengthens the coordination between civil and military controllers for flight safety. At short term, the operational performance of this new ATM system would be of immediate benefit not only to France and the FABEC(2) airspace but also to the entire European network. Indeed, 4-FLIGHT is connected to ten Air Navigation Service Providers neighbouring France: ENAIRE (ESP), DGAC Algeria, ENAV (IT), Skyguide (CH), DFS (DE), the Maastricht UAC (EUROCONTROL), Skeyes (BE), ANA (LUX), NATS (UK), IAA (IRL) and the Network Manager (EUROCONTROL).
4-FLIGHT, which is co-funded by the European Union within the Single European Sky technical modernisation programme, meets innovative European concepts such as the Free Route and new environmental efficiency requirements.
Marseille ACC, the other pilot-centre, has just implemented 4-FLIGHT on 6 December 2022. DSNA has scheduled to extend the use of 4-FLIGHT to the three other ACCs in France by 2025. Air traffic controllers will then be able to operate with a single system over the entire French upper airspace, covering one million km².
Florian GUILLERMET, DSNA CEO, said: “This success is a source of pride for DSNA staff who have been very involved in this complex ATM project. The implementation in 2022 of 4-FLIGHT at Reims UAC, then at Marseille ACC proves the commitment of DSNA to pursue its technological modernization to deliver the challenges of the Digital European Sky, and high-quality and more competitive service. This represents a major European air navigation milestone for the sustainable recovery of air transport!”
Christian RIVIERRE, Vice President of Airspace Mobility Solutions Business Line, Thales said: “We are very proud at Thales to have contributed to the deployment of 4-FLIGHT in Reims. This is the result of a strong mobilization and collaboration between all the DSNA and Thales teams. Together, we have been able to transform our way of working, becoming much more agile, to deliver even more quality and operational value. We still have other important milestones in the coming months, and I am confident that we will deliver them successfully by maintaining this spirit of trust and transparency between our two organizations.”
Mariagrazia La Piscopia, Executive Director, SESAR Deployment Manager “I am happy to witness today the successful implementation of 4-FLIGHT, a perfect example of how SESAR Air Traffic Management modernization projects are deployed into concrete operational benefits by stakeholders truly thinking and acting as one team. Congratulations to DSNA and Thales for their ongoing efforts to modernize and digitalize Air Traffic Management in France. This SESAR Deployment Manager coordinated project will now be able to deliver concrete benefits to pilots, air traffic controllers and passengers in Europe.”
FABEC means the Functional Airspace Block for Europe Central. The airspace of the six FABEC States of Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Switzerland is one of the busiest and most complex in the world. FABEC airspace covers 2 million km² and handles about 55% of European air traffic. Winner of the ATM 2020 Research, Innovation and Environment Award.
SESAR means the Single European Sky for ATM Research. This innovative public-private partnership is the technological pillar of the SES.
DSNA (Direction des Services de la Navigation Aérienne) (ecologie.gouv.fr), the French Air Navigation Service Provider, recorded the daily traffic peak in Europe in 2022: 10,551 flights on 30 July 2022. This encouraging result following to an unprecedented crisis for aviation is a great motivation for DSNA staff to accompany a gradual and sustainable recovery of air transport that will be more digital, with very ambitious environmental requirements.
DSNA’s mission consists of controlling air traffic in a safe, fluid and environmentally friendly manner, while keeping costs under control. Safety remains a fundamental priority but the main priority for the future is to shape a Greener Aviation as a prerequisite for the effective restart of air transport in a sustainable manner.
Key Data of DSNA: 5 ACCs & 75 Control Towers & 3 overseas regional structures / Staff: 6,900.
Thales is a global high technology leader investing in digital and “deep tech” innovations connectivity, big data, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and quantum technology to build a future we can all trust, which is vital to the development of our societies. The company provides solutions, services and products that help its customers businesses, organisations and states in the defence, aeronautics, space, transportation and digital identity and security markets to fulfil their critical missions, by placing humans at the heart of the decision-making process.
Thales has 81,000 employees in 68 countries. In 2021, the company generated sales of €16.2 billion.
About SESAR Deployment Manager
The Single European Sky’s ATM Research project,“SESAR” (sesardeploymentmanager.eu), is one of the most ambitious modernisation projects launched by the European Union, contributing to the implementation of the Single European Sky. SESAR’s goal is to define, develop and deploy the technological solutions needed to increase the performance and digitalisation of Europe’s ATM system in the most cost-, flight-efficient and environmentally friendly conditions.
The adoption of the Reg. (EU) n. 716/2014 (Pilot Common Project or “PCP”), the establishment of the SESAR Deployment Manager as per Reg. (EU) n. 409/2013, as well as the subsequent elaboration of the initial SESAR Deployment Programme, marked all together a key step towards the Deployment Phase of SESAR.
Today, more than seven years after the beginning of this deployment phase in 2014, the modernisation of the European ATM systems and infrastructure is an operational reality with 240 projects in operation and 101 ongoing. More importantly, it is delivering its expected performance benefits to the aviation community, its stakeholders and in turn to European passengers, citizens, economy and environment benefitting the #EUGreenDeal.
In February 2021, the Common Project One or CP1 regulation was published, ensuring a smooth continuation of sustainable Air Traffic Management modernisation and digitalisation through SESAR deployment. On 1 June 2022, a new aviation consortium was appointed by the European Commission to continue the role of SESAR Deployment Manager for the next 5 years.
DSNA Communication: François RICHARD-BOLE
Thales, Relations médias, Responsable du pôle aéronautique & défense: Alice Pruvot
T: +33(0)7 70 27 11 37 - E: alice.pruvot[.]thalesgroup.com.
Cliff Van Craen - SESAR Deployment Manager