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Flight data information

With the Coflight Cloud Service (CCS) concept Skyguide and partners are pioneering a new way of delivering core ATM services which Philippe Chauffoureaux, Skyguide Chief Information Architect, believes will offer the right levels of scalability, cost-efficiency and flexibility for the future evolution of ATM services in Europe.

SKYGUIDE : Please describe the Coflight Cloud Service (CCS) concept.
PHILIPPE CHAUFFOUREAUX The Airspace Architecture Study defines a new type of independent, remotely located information service provider, or ATM Data Service Provider (ADSP), who will deliver core CNS/ATM services to several air navigation service providers (ANSPs). The CCS concept is a pioneering example of this: a single organisation delivering essential flight data information to multiple ANSPs via the system wide information management (SWIM) network.

 

 

The concept has been developed by DSNA, ENAV and Skyguide and comprises five services among which the operational service provides ATC centres with the information and support needed for realtime service delivery. This delivery is an important and direct contributor to the services of an ATM Data Service Provider according to the model from the Airspace Architecture Study. Skyguide intends to be in a position to effectively use this operational service by end 2025.

What is the time scale for development and deployment?

PC The concept was first proposed in 2015 and a feasibility study was finalised in 2018, to confirm it was technically achievable and would deliver the hoped-for benefits. Later that year the green light was given for the project and the first phase, a technical integration service project to provide CCS services from Paris to Geneva, was completed earlier this year. CCS programme staff are currently working on the design and launch of the service validation and preparatory work on this will take place until the end of 2020. This validation step is important: it enables live tests to be implemented with air traffic controllers who check the consistency of the information transmitted and adjust the trajectory calculations made by the Coflight system. It will incorporate upgraded versions of the underlying Coflight platform planned for the last quarter of 2020.

 

When the first two steps have been completed, and the system has been shown to be technically connected and validated, CCS will start offering training service options.

 

 

 

What has been Skyguide’s role in the project?
PC Skyguide was the first CCS customer and is a key partner, developing the components to connect the interoperable CCS system to the legacy flight data processor. When completed in 2024 all flight data – including flight plans and surveillance data – will be retrieved, merged and shared via the CCS platform.

 

Many of the technical elements of the system were researched as part of the SESAR B04.04 and SESAR2020 PJ16.03 projects; the CCS was part of the demonstration platform and in PJ16 Skyguide was a major contributor to the work to inject SWIM implementation into the network.

 

CCS is not an entirely location-independent model; Skyguide has been working on connecting the remote service with local air traffic service (ATS) units to develop integrated local decision support tools, developing governance and procedures for the system to function within an agile framework.

And what will be the benefits?

PC CCS is an essential part of Skyguide’s “assets-toservices” evolution – one of the first, major elements in the company’s strategy to realise its “Vision 2035”.

 

Ownership of software and hardware as assets will become less important in the digitalised world – we want to focus more on service delivery, at the controller working position, where we can directly influence the capabilities of our controllers.

 

 

We anticipate there will be significant economies of-scale savings. Flight data processing (FDP) currently takes place at 30 or so different places in Europe with different suppliers using different software. If we could cut this number to a few it would make innovation easier – with fewer partners to synchronise – and deliver more flexible airspace management as core data can be exchanged more easily and capacity added quickly to the system. With several ANSPs remotely using the same FDP system this offers a new economic model for sharing investment and operating costs. CCS also brings top-level modern trajectory prediction and conflict resolution tools, allows more flexible trajectory planning, supports free-route operations, reduces flight time and CO2 emissions, lowers electricity consumption at ATC centres and simplifies logistics management.

 

The CCS system has been developed to guarantee immediate service availability in the event of a failure. Operational service will be certified by the Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA) to operate in line with safety regulations. Security and resilience of the system will be tested extensively to ensure continuity of service provision in case of cyberattacks.

 

We think that by building open-architecture, modular, common and interoperable ATM systems – where customers can define service levels according to requirements – we will be able to deliver the expected level of service in the next decade at a much reduced cost.