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Mobility and Transport

SESAR Deployment Framework Partnership

Brussels, BelgiumSESAR Deployment Manager

Applicant to the SES Awards 2016:

  • The SESAR Deployment Framework Partnership
  • Candidature submitted by the SESAR Deployment Manager as the coordinator of the SESAR Deployment Framework Partnership

Short description of initiative

As an essential component of the Union's broader Single European Sky (SES) policy, SESAR aims at providing the Union by 2030 with a high performing Air Traffic Management (ATM) infrastructure that will contribute to achieving the SES high level performance objectives in terms of increasing the capacity of current European ATM system, while reducing their costs and the environmental impact of flights, yet increasing the level of safety. Until December 2014, the SESAR project has been mainly focused on researching and developing the operational concepts and technologies for a high performing ATM infrastructure, through the work of the Public-Private-Partnership SESAR Joint Undertaking (SJU). During this development phase, technologies and operational procedures ready for implementation have been deployed through local initiatives, without a coordinated European wide management to foster a synchronised approach at network level and boost benefits.

Now into the deployment phase, technical and operational enablers to the 6 ATM functionalities laid down in the Pilot Common Project (PCP), the Commission Implementing Regulation No716/2014, shall be delivered into the everyday operations of civil and military Airspace Users, Airports and Air Navigation Service Providers, as well as the Network Manager (NM) and the meteorological service providers. This is the high ambition of the SESAR Deployment Framework Partnership (SESAR DFP), under the coordination of SESAR Deployment Manager (SDM). The SESAR DFP has been concluded between the European Commission and the SDM acting as coordinator of the partnership and on behalf of the other partners. Whilst the SDM, at the heart of the SESAR DFP, shall plan, synchronise and coordinate the modernization of Europe's air traffic management system under the oversight of the European Commission, the partners in the SESAR DFP shall perform PCP related implementation activities as under actions coordinated by the SDM to which funding of the European Union is granted through the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) Regulation No 1316/2013. The figure provides an outlook of the SESAR Deployment Governance, including the 3 layers of governance, the PCP, the DP and the Implementation Projects (IPs).

(figure 1 (see slidedeck))

The SDM is a consortium – the SESAR Deployment Alliance (SDA) - which consists of 3 groupings:

  • Airports operators' grouping constituted by the SESAR-related Deployment Airport Group (SDAG), an European Economic Interest Group (EEIG) which comprises the 25 airports involved in PCP implementation ;
  • Air Navigation Service Providers' grouping constituted by DFS, DSNA, ENAIRE, ENAV, NATS, PANSA and COOPANS, itself a grouping of IAA, LFV, AustroControl, Naviair and CroatiaControl ;
  • Airspace Users' grouping constituted by Air France, British Airways, easyJet and Lufthansa.

Through its members, the SDA consortium represents more than 588,357 million revenue passenger kilometres, more than 70% of European air traffic and 72% of the investment in the future European ATM and represents the PCP related 25 airports in Europe. The SDA has been selected by the European Commission as the SDM in December 2014 as a result of an open call for proposals launched in June 2014. The figure below provides an overview of SDA's membership.

(figure 2(see slidedeck))

In the SESAR DFP, the SDM interacts with a wide range of diverse partners: civil and military Air Navigation Service Providers, civil and military airports operators, civil and military airspace users, the NM, Eurocontrol, airframe manufacturers, ground systems and airborne equipment suppliers and meteorological offices, far wider than only SDA's membership. As such, the SESAR DFP represents an unprecedented industry-wide partnership. The figure below provides an overview of the partners in the SESAR Deployment Framework Partnership by 31st December 2016.

(figure 3(see slidedeck))

The composition of the SESAR DFP and of the SDM may evolve in time, respectively to progressively involve all the partners required to get PCP and any future Common Projects fully implemented and to ensure in time adequate expertise and representativeness of the coordinator of the SESAR DFP.
SDM achieves its roles of planning, synchronising, coordinating and monitoring mainly through the SESAR Deployment Programme (DP), a unique ATM technological implementation plan, consulted, agreed and supported by and for industry. Through the PCP, the DP connects with and further refine the implementation view of the European ATM Master Plan. The next figure illustrates the relations between the European ATM Master Plan, the PCP and then the DP.

(figure 4(see slidedeck))

Whilst the PCP enforces what has to be implemented, where, by whom and by when, the DP describes how to get organised to ensure synchronised, coordinated and timely implementation of the PCP.

(figure 5(see slidedeck))

The DP is developed and maintained by SDM with the support of the SJU, the NM and the European Defence Agency (EDA), also including wide consultation of the operational stakeholders through a dedicated stakeholders' platform managed by SDM. The DP contains the project view of the PCP, turning the six key ATM functionalities that have to be implemented within the prescribed geographical scope in 44 families of implementation projects. For each family and for each (group of) stakeholder(s) the DP identifies gaps, i.e. activities still required to get PCP fully implemented. After DP delivery to and approval by EC, the DP further specifies the work programme for the SES/SESAR priority under the CEF financial instrument, thus supporting the European Commission in its evaluation and award of funding to the implementing projects which are the most relevant to PCP implementation. Through the DP, the SESAR Deployment Manager ensures efficient synchronization and coordination of awarded implementation projects.

Award Criteria

  • Contribution to increasing capacity of ATM systems
  • Contribution to increasing safety of ATM systems
  • Contribution to reducing ATM costs
  • Contribution to reducing the impact of air transport on the environment
  • Early implementation


Contribution to increasing capacity of ATM systems; increasing safety of ATM systems; reducing ATM costs; reducing the impact of air transport on the environment

The SESAR DFP makes a key contribution to increasing overall ATM performance in Europe by managing in a co-ordinated and timely manner the implementation of the PCP, which contribution to performance has been proven by the Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) of the PCP.

SDM's performance assessment and cost-benefit analysis methodology contained in its DP constitutes the cornerstone of SDM's performance policy. It encapsulates the technological and operational investments required to achieve new ATM functionalities required through the PCP regulation and resulting ATM performance improvements. It is SDM ambition to implement the PCP in a performance driven manner, ensuring that all benefits expected from the whole PCP implementation will materialise whilst not exceeding the estimated costs.

The CBA of the PCP shows that a timely and synchronised implementation of the PCP would generate a Net Present Value (NPV) amounting to 2.4 billion €, over the period 2014 to 2030, with a 9-year payback period as well as non-monetised benefits resulting from an increase in Airspace capacity by 21% and an increase in Airport capacity by 4%.

Considering the 84 implementation projects awarded as a result of the CEF Transport Call 2014 and now running within the SESAR Deployment FP, the expected global contribution to performance can be described as follows:

  • 94% of the projects are qualified as having a positive (29%) or strong positive impact (65%) on one of the SES Key Performance Areas (Safety, Capacity, Flight Efficiency, Cost Efficiency).
  • 41% of the projects are qualified as having a strong positive impact on Cost Efficiency, and 84% of those are addressing ATCO productivity.
  • 40% of the projects are qualified as having a strong positive impact on Safety, 79% of those are addressing Airport (ground and runway).
  • 28% of the projects are qualified as having a strong positive impact on Flight Efficiency, 65% of those are addressing Airport/Ground.
  • 20% of the projects are qualified as having a strong positive impact on Capacity, 76% of those are addressing Airport (ground and runway).
  • 8% of the projects are qualified as interdependent to other projects (either prerequisites or other kind of interdependency).
  • Early implementation ("First mover")

The SESAR DFP made considerable effort and demonstrated strong willingness for early implementation by facilitating and, in the end, successfully submitting a significant number of implementation projects in response to the 2014 CEF Transport call for proposals with significant positive impact on performance. Although SDM did not yet exist at the time the 2014 CEF Transport call for proposals was launched, all the partners in the SESAR DFP "in constitution" committed themselves and strongly engaged in the process. Within just two months after its official set-up, the SDM was able to scan the project proposals received from the operational stakeholders, for consistency with the PCP Regulation and providing them with the expertise and advice for the sake of the further elaboration of qualitative applications. This early implementation exercise resulted into the award of 84 implementation projects that could be considered as pioneering the coordinated and synchronised deployment of SESAR.

Potential to be replicated over the ATM network

Since the SESAR DFP established a network in between all the implementing partners with SDM at its centre, SESAR DFP, by definition and construction, covers a large and fast growing part of the ATM network. SDM will actively promote the extension of the SESAR DFP being inclusive with respect to all European stakeholders required to implement PCP. As such, the entire ATM community could be connected to deployment in Europe, not only as an Implementing Partner, but also as being part of the SESAR Deployment Partnership Agreement or strongly interfaced with it through bilateral cooperative arrangements.

Innovative Aspects and Contribution To Change Management

Translating complex requirements into manageable projects

Enabling ATM modernisation through technological innovation and change management is at the core of the SDM's mission. The PCP and future Common Projects identify the operational changes in the ATM Master Plan which are the most essential to improve the performance of the European ATM network in service of the SES High level Goals in terms of safety, capacity, flight efficiency and cost efficiency, as set by the European Commission in 2005.

As such the SDM has a wide ranging role in ensuring all EU civil and military operational stakeholders, such as air navigation service providers, airport operators and airspace users, meet their obligations to deploy specific ATM functionalities, and also that other bodies such as the Network Manager, the SESAR JU, EASA, European Standardisation Organisations, EUROCAE, etc. are also appropriately engaged within their respective areas of competence.

Comprehensive engagement of multiple stakeholders

The SESAR DFP is inclusive by nature because achieving its objective implies to engage all stakeholders required to fully implement the PCP and any future Common Project. As an illustration of concrete engagement of an increasing number of stakeholders, it should be noted that whilst SESAR DFP started with 16 partners in December 2014, it increased to 47 by November 2015 and could potentially increase up to around 90 by end of 2016, subject to award decision by European Commission as a result of 2015 CEF Transport Calls. Within the same period, the number of Cooperative Arrangements signed with other SES and SESAR stakeholders has increased from none to 4 and is expected to raise up to at least 10 .

SDM has invested in a comprehensive programme of stakeholders' engagement using face to face information meetings and events as well as the sophisticated use of multimedia on its social media channels to engage and inform stakeholders at every step of the PCP deployment process and its accompanying governance. For example:

  • Twitter and LinkedIn bulletins announcing major achievements by SDM and SESAR DFP;
  • On-line videos demonstrating how to use STAR, the online reporting tool developed by the SDM;
  • Weekly to do list sent to the stakeholders involved in the preparation of the proposals to 2015 CEF Transport Calls under the coordination of SDM.

New tools, processes and techniques to support deployment

The SDM has established effective mechanisms and decision-making processes to synchronise and coordinate overall implementation of the projects and their related investment in line with the DP. However, it is not just about doing new things but doing things in a new way. The SDM has provided comprehensive support and guidance to stakeholders willing to apply for EU funding through the CEF Transport calls for proposals scheme at every stage of the process. It has also developed a pan European projects management system, STAR , through which partners can upload their data and reporting documents in real time in a secure environment, allowing the SDM to efficiently collate, analyse and monitor the status of implementation projects within the partnership and report to the European Commission.

On the level of the Implementation projects, those related to ATM Functionality 5 and ATM Functionality 6 are the most innovative parts of the PCP and DP. Partners within the SESAR DFP investing in these technologies and procedures are on the forefront of innovation in the respect that are implementing the next generation of technologies, anticipating the most advanced features in the SESAR operational concept.

In the context of change management, the human factor plays an important role, as is evidenced by the contribution of the Professional Staff Associations in the R&D part of SESAR. SDM as coordinator of SESAR DFP will further facilitate PCP implementation through the involvement of the Professional Staff Associations at the earliest possible stage (DP). Within the SESAR Deployment Framework Partnership change management is supported through the fact that training is seen as a crucial part of implementing projects and eligible as part of the investments in implementing projects.

Promoting partnerships

The SESAR Deployment Manager has adopted five key principles that govern its work:

  1. be customer focus;
  2. promote cross-industry collaboration;
  3. interact in an open and transparent manner with all stakeholders inside and outside the SESAR DFP;
  4. build trust in SESAR Deployment governance; and
  5. deliver.

These principles help ensure that SDM as coordinator of SESAR FP promotes in a structural way the growth of the partnership. The aim is an ever widening partnership, attracting more partners, both public and private companies and organisations from across Europe. Through the partnership all partners are working to facilitate their access to EU funding and other financing mechanisms in order to help them and partners outside complying with the Common Projects regulation. With this strategy in mind SDM wants to make the SESAR Framework Partnership as inclusive as possible. The main reason for this approach is to be able to reach the ultimate goal of full (Pilot) Common Project implementation.

Massimo Garbini, Managing Director of the SESAR Deployment Manager states:

"Today, the establishment of a strong partnership between the European Commission and the industry is proving to be the right model to achieve results. Thanks to the facilitation and coordination performed by SESAR Deployment Manager (SDM) but most importantly through the cooperation with all stakeholders, SESAR is becoming an essential enabler to achieve Single European Sky (SES)."

It does this through:

  • adopting a passenger centric approach at all times whilst taking into account the needs of cargo, military, business and general aviation in accordance with the aims and objectives of the PCP and every subsequent Common Project;
  • be represented by ANSPs, Airlines and Airports Operational Stakeholders, visibly demonstrating the principles of cooperative and collaborative decision-making;
  • through open and transparent interaction with all stakeholders, create the right environment for mitigating the risk of non-timely deployment, successful PCP implementation across the industry, focused on delivering high levels of customer service and performance;
  • create the authority and build trust with the implementing stakeholders that are responsible for the deployment, so that they support and comply with the DP elaborated by the SDM in consultation with them; and
  • be focused on a timely and performance-driven delivery of the scope agreed in the PCP and the DP.
    The SDM is committed to working closely and openly with all stakeholders involved in the SESAR deployment process. A robust Stakeholders' Consultation Platform (SCP) has been established to seek operational stakeholders' opinions on SDM's proposals prior to their submission for approval to the European Commission. The SCP is for operational stakeholders investing in current or future PCP related implementation projects and future Common Projects and comprises civil airspace users, civil ANSPs, civil airport operators and the military.

Other stakeholders are consulted or even directly involved into SDM's work through a series of Cooperative Arrangements: SJU, NM, EDA, National Supervisory Authorities, manufacturing industry, European Investment Bank (EIB), Performance Review Body (PRB), European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), EUROCAE, professional staff associations and others.

The key figures of the 2014 CEF Transport calls for proposals and the perspectives of the 2015 CEF Transport calls for proposals show that the promotion of partnerships is in fact resulting into a European wide partnership including all operational stakeholders and Member States involved in PCP implementation.

In the 2014 CEF Transport call for proposals there were 84 implementing projects selected (of which 10 multi stakeholder projects), covering 25 Member States. The total expected amount of investments is more than € 643 million and a co-funding of up to € 318 million is foreseen. The number of beneficiaries is 47, of which 26 ANSPs, 11 Airport operators, 5 Airspace Users and 1 MET Service provider.

The perspectives for the 2015 CEF Transport call for proposals shows an even broader potential involvement of partners. An estimated 226 implementing projects will be submitted in this call, covering 31 Member States, including all EU Member States. The total expected amount of investments is around € 2.3 billion and a co-funding of up to € 1,2 billion could be consumed. The expected number of beneficiaries is 85, of which 32 ANSPs, 12 Airport operators, 18 Airspace Users, 6 Military authorities, 7 Industry providers and 10 MET Service providers.

Promoting SES and SESAR beyond the Union's boundaries

Because global interoperability is a key objective to be achieved at a time when most of the Regions in the World organise the modernisation of their respective ATM system to meet increasing traffic demand, the SDM now acts in close cooperation with the SJU and as a support to the European Commission on international SESAR implementation related matters. While the main focus has been on Europe's skies, since its outset the SESAR JU has been committed to global harmonisation and interoperability, recognising these as prerequisites for a smooth and seamless transition towards a global ATM system in line with the ICAO Global Air Navigation Plan (GANP). The SESAR project and the European ATM Master Plan have provided major inputs to and has been the source of inspiration in the development of ICAO's GANP and Aviation System Block Upgrade (ASBU) Modules. The SJU also works closely with industry standardisation bodies to advance common industry standards and procedures.

The need for global interoperability was already captured in the SDM Deployment Programme 2015 (see DP 2015, chapter 6 "risks and mitigations") and will further evolve in the Deployment Programme 2016 to better highlight the connections with other similar regional plans (e.g. the NextGen implementation plan) as well as ICAO's Global Air Navigation Plan.

Especially the airline stakeholders have the strong need for global interoperability and harmonized standards - because of the heavy and long investment cycles and high investment risks to be well planned in advance - and the SDM will provide its important contributions to support the airlines and the other ATM stakeholders in the respective aspects of SESAR deployment and PCP/subsequent CPs implementation.

Actually the SDM will intensify its work on global interoperability in 2016, promoting SESAR solutions, SESAR deployment governance model, the SDM and the SESAR DFP in the international environment, also taking advantage of concrete early achievements. This new action by SDM takes place under a specific mandate given by the European Commission to the SDM.

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