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7.4.07 Compatibility and optimisation of airspace structures
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|This page displays officially adopted European Commission Guidance Material for the Establishment and Modification of Functional Airspace Blocks (FAB), edition 2.0 of 08 December 2011, following the positive opinion (about Version 1.0) of the Single Sky Committee in its 38th session on 3 December 2010 and additional review processes by the FFPG and SSC (of intermediate Version 1.2) in August and November 2011. See the disclaimer agreed by the Single Sky Committee regarding the non-binding and evolving nature of the Guidance Material and its initial use.|
7.4.7 Compatibility of airspace configurations and optimisation of airspace structures
|Category:||Requirements of Article 9a SPR|
|Content source:||European Commission|
Regulation (EC) No XXX/2011 (SERA-IR);
Regulation (EC) No 677/2011 (NMF-IR);
§6 of Part Two of the Annex to Regulation (EC) No 176/2011 (FAB-IR);
FAB requirement (Mandatory)
FABs shall, in particular, ensure compatibility between the different airspace configurations, optimising, inter-alia, the current airspace structures.
Important note regarding how this guidance material relates to the FAB-IR
The prime purpose of this section is to advise FABs as to how they should address and implement this FAB requirement, and to less extent as regards how they should fulfil §6 of Part Two of the Annex to Regulation (EC) No 176/2011 (FAB-IR) before establishing and modifying a FAB. Guidance in relation to the latter issue is in the field Dependencies and relation to other requirements or conditions
Explanatory material (e.g. scope, context, key or relevant issues to be considered etc)
FABs should address this requirement in close relation with the other two FAB requirements dealt with in section 7.4.3 in relation to the execution of the network functions in accordance with NF-IR.
Article 2(6) NF-IR defines an ‘airspace structure’ as a specific volume of airspace designed to ensure the safe and optimal operation of aircraft. According to Article 2(11), airspace structures are designed for channelling the flow of traffic as necessary for the provision of ATS along the ATS routes; the latter are specified parts of the respective airspace structure. ‘Airspace structures’ are therefore intrinsically connected to the airspace design process and to the network function for the development of the European route network (ERND).
According to Article 2(3) NF-IR, the airspace design process applied to the purpose of the ERND function will result, inter-alia, in the development and implementation of ‘improved route networks and associated sectorisation, optimised airspace structures and capacity enhancing procedures’. Among the objectives of the ERND function is to facilitate, within the European Route Network Improvement Plan, the development of an airspace structure offering the required safety, capacity, flexibility, responsiveness, environmental performance and seamless provision of expeditious air navigation services, with due regard to security and defence needs.
Though not defined in NF-IR, the term ‘airspace configurations’ is used with the meaning of a pre-defined and coordinated organisation of ATS Routes of the European route network and/or terminal routes and their associated airspace structures (including temporary airspace reservations, if appropriate) and ATC sectorisation. Since the ‘airspace configurations’ are aimed at responding to different strategic objectives at airspace network level (capacity, flight efficiency, environmental), this requirement supports ensuring the necessary consistency between FABs.
It is expected that this FAB requirement will be met principally by applying the airspace design principles laid down in Part C of Annex I to NF-IR for the development of the ERNIP.
In this sense, the NM, Member States, FABs, 3rd countries, and ANSPs as part of FABs or individually, are required within the CDM process, to adhere inter-alia to the following airspace design principles:
- the establishment and configuration of airspace structures must be based on operational requirements, irrespective of national or FAB borders or FIR boundaries, and not necessarily be bound by the division level between upper and lower airspace;
- the design of airspace structures must be a transparent process showing decisions made and their justification through taking into account the requirements of all users whilst reconciling safety, capacity, environmental aspects and with due regard to military and national security needs;
- the design process needs to ensure vertical and horizontal connectivity, including terminal airspace and the airspace structure at the interface;
- the acceptance for assessment and possible development of all airspace structures proposals, including free route airspace, multiple route options and CDRs, received from stakeholders having an operational requirement in that area;
- the design of airspace structures including free route airspace and ATC sectors must take into account existing or proposed airspace structures designated for activities which require airspace reservation or restriction. To that end only such structures that are in accordance with the application of FUA will be established. Such structures must be harmonised and made consistent to the largest possible extent across the entire European network;
- ATC sectors must be designed to enable the construction of sector configurations that satisfy traffic flows and are adaptable and commensurate with variable traffic demand;
Further to the application of these airspace design principles, the NM, MS, FABs and ANSPs as part of FABs or individually, through the CDM process, are also required to ensure that the following principles apply in relation to airspace utilisation and capacity management:
- airspace structures must be planned so as to facilitate flexible and timely airspace use and management with regard to routing options, traffic flows, sector configuration schemes and the configuration of other airspace structures;
- airspace structures should accommodate the establishment of additional route options while ensuring their compatibility (capacity considerations and sector design limitations).
It is reminded that, in accordance with Annex I to NF-IR, Part A §3, Member States will remain responsible for the detailed development, approval and establishment of the airspace structures for the airspace under their responsibility.
It is expected that, as part of the on-going monitoring of performance achievements at network level (Annex I to NF-IR, Part D):
- In order to ensure the regular performance improvements, the NM, in close co-operation with States, FABs and operational stakeholders, undertakes regular reviews of the effectiveness of the implemented airspace structures;
- This review shall include, but it is not limited to […] the evaluation of airspace structures integrity and continuity.
Same as for the two FAB requirements addressed in section 7.4.3, this is another FAB requirement directly connected to the execution of the network functions and the CDM process and activities of the NM.
Consequently, from the FAB perspective, participation in the CDM process at network level and implementation by the FAB States and concerned operational stakeholders of the measures adopted by the NM in result of the CDM process are sine-qua-non conditions for fulfilling the two FAB requirements.
FAB Stakeholder(s) concerned
Necessary and/or optional partnership arrangements, estimated feasibility and value-added
Same as in section 7.4.3.
Impacts or implications of arrangements, e.g. on FAB operations, stakeholders, performance, flexibility etc
Same as in section 7.4.3.
Dependencies and relation to other requirements or conditions
Same as for 7.4.3. See also sections 7.1.9 and 7.1.10 as regards establishing an appropriate FAB framwork in connection to the CDM process and interfaces with the NM. 7.2.3, 7.2.4 and 7.2.6 (as regards the written agreements between ATSPs, civil and military, in support of inter-alia ensuring the compatibility of airspace configurations and optimisation of airspace structures), 7.4.3, 7.4.6 and 7.4.10 (as regards the interaction of this requirements with other requirements of Article 9a.2 SPR) and 7.5.1 (with the FUA regulation per overall).
Guidelines in relation to the information requirements of the FAB-IR
With particular regard to the information requirements in §6, Part Two of the Annex to the FAB-IR, it has been assumed that Member States concerned in a FAB firstly need to assess the differences in terms of airspace organisation and classification and then establish effective and feasible plans of how to achieve harmonisation in this respect within the FAB. Depending of the nature and extent of the identified differences and also of differences in the relevant national legislation, the processes of harmonisation at FAB level may require considerable efforts and correspondingly longer time frames.
Information is therefore required on the available plans setting out how to achieve harmonised organisation and classification of different airspace configurations within the FAB. Irrespective of this, Member States in a FABs having already achieved partial or full harmonisation should also provide information as regards the actions and level of harmonisation achieved. The information on such plans must include:
- The principles for airspace classification and airspace organisation applied in the FAB;
- The changes of airspace configuration resulting from the harmonisation within the FAB.
Recommended actions and supporting evidences
As per item 4.7 of the FAB Guidance check-list, in conjunction with the CDM process, procedures and interfaces with the NM and the measures adopted by the NM resulting from the CDM process in the execution of the network functions.
Reference material for implementation
The same recommendations are made on short term as in section 7.4.3. Due to the rapid, on-going changes to the EUROCONTROL processes, procedures and reference deliverables as a result of the adoption of NF-IR  and nomination of the NM, users of this guidance material are advised to check for updated new reference material and guidelines from the new Network Management portal.
For the purpose of this section the following main reference material are listed, while users should always check for new or updated deliverables on the Network Management web-site. Additional reference material is listed in section B10.3 of the Guidance Material:
- EUROCONTROL Advanced Airspace Scheme (AAS) Concept Document, edition 2.1;
- EUROCONTROL 2015 Airspace Concept & Strategy for the ECAC Area and Key Enablers, edition 2.0, 28 February 2008;
- EUROCONTROL Manual for Airspace Planning, Common Guidelines, edition 2.0;
- EUROCONTROL Handbook for Airspace Management, edition 2.0, 23/10/2007 (or more recent version);
- EUROCONTROL DMEAN Concept of Operations, edition P1, 16/09/2004;
- EUROCONTROL Guidelines on Generic Military Requirements to be considered when establishing a FAB, edition 1.0, 07.05.2008;
- EUROCONTROL Operational Requirements Document (ORD) - Enhancement of the ASM/ ATFM/ ATC processes (the FUA 2008 Scenario), edition 1.0, 08/03/2005;
- EUROCONTROL ATS Route Network - ARN - Versions 6 and 7 (or more recent version) – Concept of Operations and Catalogue of Projects;
- EUROCONTROL Capacity Assessment and Planning Guidance Material - An overview of the European Network Capacity Planning Process, 21/09/2007;
- EUROCONTROL Common Format Letter of Agreement (LoA) between Air Traffic Services units, edition 3.0;
- The European ATM Master Plan Portal for KPA Capacity.