The FAB CE project portfolio: innovating to improve performance

FAB CE is far more than just an alliance of air navigation service providers (ANSPs) formed to meet the legislative requirements of the European Commission’s Single European Sky programme, it is the catalyst and focal point for the delivery of pioneering performance-driven, trans-national air navigation services optimised through enhanced cooperation. Our portfolio of projects – launched on our own initiative and to comply with SESAR Deployment Programme objectives – spans a broad range of operational and institutional programmes (see figure one) which are already transforming ANS performance throughout the FAB CE airspace area. Engagement outside geographical area of FAB CE covers inter-FAB cooperation and cooperation with non-FAB CE and non-EU countries.

What we are working on now

The FAB CE X-Border Free Route Airspace (FRA) study, completed in April 2017, provides a baseline evaluation of the feasibility of implementing FRA and has defined the operational and technical pre-conditions for the introduction of the procedure throughout the FAB CE area. Among its findings are that the unrestricted FAB CE level cross-border FRA concept provides the desired benefits for airspace users in terms of horizontal flight efficiency while no difference could be identified in vertical flight efficiency.

The X-Bone HW Procurement is the first of our joint smart procurement projects. FCE Aviation Services, set up to manage joint procurement on behalf of all FAB CE ANSPs, signed its first equipment contract on 15 June 2017. The contract was with S&T Slovenija, to deliver common regional telecommunications infrastructure to six ANSPs to support seamless exchange of data between FAB CE member states. Under the single contract, the company is supplying common CISCO routers used to ensure seamless exchange of a range of messages including surveillance data, aeronautical messages, and to support On-Line Data interchange (OLDI) between FAB CE member states.

Our Surveillance Infrastructure Optimisation programme is developing coordinated infrastructure planning and maintenance so when new surveillance systems are planned we will be able to increase surveillance coverage and reduce duplication efforts throughout the entire FAB CE airspace area. We are also conducting a single feasibility study - including a cost-benefit analysis - on implementing a regional tracker, leading to a "make-or-buy" decision.

Our Arrival Management (AMAN) LOWW study covers the implementation of basic AMAN functionalities for flights into Vienna airport, replacing legacy systems with new advanced arrival management systems built into the Topsky system at use in the TERM Unit at Vienna. It is the first step on the roadmap to an extended AMAN procedure which, in later stages, could allow for the exchange data between arriving aircraft into Vienna and ATM units in FAB EC neighbouring states.

Deployment Manager-related programmes

From April 2017 airlines and other airspace users have benefitted from safer and more on-time performance as a result of the introduction of short term air traffic flow capacity management measures (STAM) throughout FAB CE airspace as a result of dynamic airspace management (DAM)/STAM project activities. FAB CE FMP (Flow Management Position) operators can now flexibly introduce traffic-overload prevention measures in response to the actual demand on the system by targeting individual flights with a STAM – through the use of level-capping for aircraft already airborne or introducing “take-off not before” (TONB) actions at airports. In this way, locally preferred solutions to local traffic overload challenges can be applied rather than having to resort to large-scale regulations which impact many flights.

Projects in the pipeline

We have begun a number of projects aimed at the long-term improvement of ANS performance throughout the FAB CE area, improving safety, reducing costs and delays and lowering the overall environmental burden caused by increased flight numbers in our region.

With our NAV optimization project we will develop processes for coordinated navigation system infrastructure planning and maintenance, which will lead to a proactive consultation process and a FAB CE-wide information exchange regarding navigational systems that will increase cost-effectiveness. Our FAB CE system-wide information management (SWIM) PKI security protocol and Cyber-Security programme involves an exchange of information between ANSPs in the process of implementation of SWIM cyber-security to enable SWIM services across FAB CE. In the context of SWIM, there is also the potential for a common procurement of FAB CE SWIM infrastructure components.

We have also identified a number of areas where a group of FAB CE ANSPs do not have local implementation projects identified but wish to cooperate on procurement. These comprise:

* Upgrade/implementation of Aeronautical Information Exchange System/Service;

* Upgrade/implementation of Meteorological Information Exchange System/Service;

* Upgrade/implementation of Cooperative Network Information Exchange System/Service; and

* Upgrade/implement Flights Information Exchange System/Service.


Finally, further study work will be required to synchronise the deployment of FRA in the FAB CE area to maximise user benefits. The project will be defined as and when needed.