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x bone

Common telecommunications equipment has been delivered to FAB CE member states following completion of the first joint equipment procurement project managed by the FAB CE legal entity, FABCE Aviation Services Ltd (FCE). Six air navigation service providers (ANSPs) purchased CISCO routers based on a common specification and tender to benefit from lower procurement costs and economies of scale.

FCE Director Matej Eljon said: “A comparison of the cost of a single procurement process compared with multiple actions reveals an average cost reduction in excess of 30%. We also achieved a lower market price because of the economies of scale.” Analysis carried out by FCE reveals cost savings in the preparation of legal documents and agreements. It also showed a significant discount in the cost of the equipment for individual ANSPs. The legal documents provide a baseline that is now available for future common procurements.

S&T Slovenia was selected for the single contract award following a competitive tender in June 2017, and the company completed delivery of the network equipment - known as X-bone – to all six ANSPs in August 2017. The replacement hardware provides the telecommunications infrastructure to support seamless exchange of aeronautical messages between ANSPs. It provides a secure network to send and receive data electronically among neighbouring states. On completion of local installation, the expert project team from X-bone community is tasked with testing and validating the new X-bone communications network with operational approval anticipated by mid-2018.

The project is the first common system purchase by a Functional Airspace Block (FAB). It was supported by an expert team which prepared the relevant legal documents and established a framework that can be used to carry out similar projects in the future. A series of templates are now available for further common procurement actions, and can be modified according to specific project requirements.

FCE is ready to launch a new procurement project in the coming months and is confident it will be able to lower costs through a single procurement process compared with costs incurred by ANSPs individually. The FAB CE Technical Sub-Committee is analysing the future investment plans of FAB CE ANSPs to identify infrastructure projects which stand to benefit from common procurement activity. The opportunities are likely to include communications, navigation, and surveillance infrastructure where equipment is already due to be purchased, and operational requirements are comparable. Smart procurement is part of wider a FAB CE objective to harmonise and optimise operations, one of three high level initiatives set out in the FAB CE Strategy, along with safety and performance monitoring, and stakeholder communications.

FAB Central Europe (FAB CE) has reappointed Helios and Integra to run its Programme Support Office (PSO) for the next three years.

The PSO is a vital enabler to FAB CE’s work, helping to align it to Single European Sky and SESAR requirements, coordinate actions and track progress across priority programmes spanning business planning, technical harmonisation, common procurement and operations.

In the first two years of support, the FAB CE programme was reviewed and updated in accordance with the latest requirements of the SESAR Deployment Programme (DP). FAB CE, supported by the PSO, has successfully completed the “Free Route Airspace from the Black Forest to the Black Sea” Study, funded by the European Commission’s Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) and was also successful in achieving INEA funding for its multi-applicant proposals in the competitive 2016 CEF Transport call, aimed at closing further gaps in SESAR DP implementation. FAB CE also completed its first smart/common procurement to upgrade its cross-border telecommunications network (X-bone) hardware and is currently looking at optimisation of the surveillance infrastructure.

FAB CE Programme Manager Matej Eljon said: “The challenge for FAB CE over the next period will be to exploit the cooperative structures already in place and expand our cooperation further to fulfil requirements for new services foreseen by the SESAR Deployment Programme in the most cost-efficient way. We are looking forward to the ongoing support of Helios and Integra, and are confident of meeting the performance targets specified in the FAB CE Performance Plan.”

DG CCLThe Supervisory Board of Croatia Control Ltd  on 29 September 2017 appointed Mr Vlado Bagarić as the new Director General of Croatia Control.

Vlado Bagarić is a former Commander of the Croatian Air Force and Air Defence. He previously held the position of Assistant Director for ATM/ANS at the Croatian Civil Aviation Agency.

atsep 2ATSEP (Air Traffic Safety Electronics Personnel) training managers from FAB Central Europe and FAB Europe Central together with their colleagues from NATS have developed a new common pool of assessment questions to standardise the assessment process for ATSEP training. The objective of this InterFAB initiative is to fill the gap between the requirements defined in the EU Regulation 2017/373 that describes the minimum requirements, but does not define in which way air navigation service providers have to train their staff. To standardise this process, training experts have defined a question pool for the ATSEP basic training containing more than 600 validated questions to be used by the partners The first ATSEP basic assessments have been conducted; this demonstrated the high quality of the questions with respect to comprehensibility, clearness, depth and relation to training objectives.

The QUASAR (QUestionnaire for ATSEP Standard Assessment Routines) initiative, working as the QUASAR Task Force (QTF) is behind the initial idea launched by FABCE partners ANS Czech Republic, Austro Control, BHANSA, CANI, Croatia Control, Hungarocontrol, LPS Slovakia and Slovenia Control. FABEC is represented by DFS, ENAC and Skyguide. In addition, NATS joined in 2015. Based on this first successful step, the QUASAR Task Force started the process of generating question pools for the 17 qualification streams as defined in the EU regulation. The question set for the first stream “Qualification Shared” is expected to be finalised by the end of 2017. Beside this, QUASAR members offer a web based platform to conduct on-line assessments.

The current status of the QUASAR initiative will be presented to a broader audience at the FABEC Training Conference which will take place in Amsterdam on 26/27 September 2017.

cyberThe FAB CE Cyber Security Experts, comprising FABCE information technology (IT) security managers (ITSO) and chief information security officers (CISO) from the seven FAB CE air navigation service providers (ANSPs), met in Vienna on 29 June for the first time, to exchange views on cyber security challenges and examine potential areas of cooperation.

ANSPs face a number of major cyber security challenges apart from the most obvious one of protecting company and operational networks from cyber-attacks. In Europe there are a wide number of working groups set up to pioneer work in this area – including programmes under way within Eurocontrol, the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) – and one of the roles of the FAB CE Cyber Security Experts is to ensure there is no duplication or effort and to agree on areas of cooperation with the different initiatives under way.

“One of most important challenges is to ensure we have the same open exchange of security information as we have on the safety side,” said Harald Stainoch, Deputy Corporate Security Officer (CSO) at Austro Control and project manager of the organisation’s information security enhancement project. “I think we are one or two or three steps behind in this regard. We all have security challenges but, for understandable reasons, there is a reluctance to share them. The problems are well known but the range of work in IT security is a huge one and I suspect we are at different stages of development.”

While work has begun as part of a Eurocontrol programme to harmonise security protocols around message transmission within the FAB, all European ANSPs face similar challenges in understanding the best way to harmonise programmes and understand the appropriate level of resources required to meet the challenges.

“For the time being the meeting of the FAB CE Security Experts will be focused on the exchange of information - presenting the state of play within each ANSP and perhaps outlining roadmaps for further development,” said Harald Stainoch. “We will, most importantly, be looking at the best ways we can help each other and freely share our best practices in FAB CE.”