A “centralised service” is an ANS service or ATM function exercised at a pan-European and central network level for harmonisation and cost-efficiency purposes avoiding parallel investments. Centralised service provision involves a clear network dimension.
On European Commission request EUROCONTROL set up in December 2012 a project team to elaborate the concept of centralised services and identify potential areas where deployment of centralised services will be beneficial in the future. The team came up with the following initial description of the centralised services:
- An air navigation service or related function;
- A service exercised at central European/network level, bringing significant benefits in terms of cost-effectiveness and harmonisation;
- A service entrusted (in terms of management, responsibility and liability) to the Network Manager, while the technical set-up and operation are contracted to industry (ANSP/manufacturing industry) through competitive tenders as far as possible.
Centralised services should also:
- Contribute significantly to the performance targets of the EU Member States;
- Support the implementation of SESAR developments on a central basis;
- Support the implementation of SESAR developments to become pan-European services;
- Support the unbundling of ancillary services;
- Allow service providers/the ATM manufacturing industry to team up to provide such services outside national boundaries at a pan-European level;
- Allow market mechanisms for the centralised services to be implemented following a tender process, i.e. support market competition;
- Allow performance-based contracts to be concluded between EUROCONTROL and the selected service providers.
The concept of centralised services does not exclude the ANSPs, consortia of these, or joint ventures, including the ATM equipment manufacturers, from taking part in this service provision. Any ANSP or manufacturer, or groupings thereof, can bid to provide one or more centralised services. The creation of an European market for a limited number of centralised services will allow ANSPs to provide services beyond the current national boundaries.
Current Centralised Services
Centralised services are not new. EUROCONTROL has longstanding experience with centralised services, such as:
- Billing and collection of air navigation charges by the Central Route Charges Office (CRCO).
- Provision of aeronautical data by the European AIS Database (EAD);
- Central air traffic flow and capacity managementin Europe by the Network Manager;
- Flight plan processing and distribution through the Integrated Initial Flight Plan Processing System (IFPS);
- SSR code allocation to flights through the Centralised SSR Code Assignment and Management System (CCAMS);
- Surveillance data processing and distribution through the ATM Surveillance Tracker and Server (ARTAS).
- Pan European Network Service (PENS /NewPENS) - provision of common IP-based ATM/ANS network service across the European region covering voice and data communication.
- Flexible Use of Airspace - a service for the collection and provision of airspace management data through the European Airspace Use Plan (EAUP), enabling the more efficient and effective use of available airspace in the European region.
Benefits of Centralised Services
The centralised provision of ATM services contributes to the overall improvement of the service level towards the ultimate client of the ATM network, the passenger, while generating efficiencies at network level. Other benefits are expected for: European Union, States, including military authorities, ANSPs, airspace users and airports.
The centralised services contribute to the achievement of a truly seamless Single European Sky and the competitiveness of the air transport industry. Non-EU member states benefit also from the centralised services as the centralised services have pan-European coverage.
The centralisation of some common ANS services can contribute significantly to the ANSPs’ ability to achieve the performance scheme targets. The centralised services will offer the ANSPs the services for less cost than if they were to operate the service individually at local level. ANSPs will have the possibility to participate in tendering and also benefit from the successful marketing of the products and services in other parts of the world, having established a proven track record in Europe.
The airspace users have long been advocating the provision of centralised frontline ATM services, in the interest of cost efficiency, but also of de-fragmentation, harmonisation and interoperability. With the provision of higher quality of data, this will allow (e.g. with 4-D trajectory management for planning purposes) improved predictability which, in turn, should result in greater usable capacity.
By using the experience gained from EAD EUROCONTROL as the intergovernmental European organisation is ideally placed to help set up future centralised services under the leadership of the Network Manager. The Network Manager acts as independent and impartial body, having a detailed understanding of the network evolution. Its pan-European capability is the critical success factor to support improved efficiency and lower costs of the ATM services while maintaining and where possible improving safety.