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Mobility and Transport

SWIM - The ATM Intranet

Brussels, BelgiumSJU, Eurocontrol and partners

Information management is a fundamental enabler of ATM, and the connection of all ATM players via a common network is a cornerstone of the SESAR concept. This is being achieved through SWIM (System Wide Information Management) which makes full usage of the capabilities of IP communication technologies (secured Internet or private networks like PENS).

Through the SESAR Programme, Europe has made significant progress on defining, developing and validating SWIM. Much of these developments have found their way in the ICAO Manual on SWIM Concept (Doc10039) which includes the SWIM definition, SWIM principles, the rationale for change and the associated benefits.

In a nutshell SWIM brings the wide-spread (including airlines and airports) IT approach of service orientated architecture (SOA) to the European ATM system whereby all ATM stakeholders are accessing, sharing, and processing ATM information through (re-usable) services.

At a practical level the SESAR SWIM outreach activities demonstrate and communicate the benefits of a SWIM enabled ATM system. Together with European and Global SWIM community stakeholders this accelerates the uptake of SWIM and makes SWIM visible to the ATM public:

  • The SESAR SWIM Master Class is an activity open to all whereby providers and consumers of ATM data work together during six months to discover and develop, in a cooperative fashion, SWIM activities. Starting in 2012 with the Network Manager (NM) Business to Business (B2B) services as a SWIM Pioneer, the latest 2015 edition welcomed 55 international teams becoming an important European (& wider) collaborative platform generating excellent knowledge about SWIM and taking SWIM from its concept to real value-added solutions.
  • SWIM Global Demonstrations are currently being launched to facilitate collaboration between multiple worldwide regional actors building SWIM services together. This will generate hands-on experience with positive effects on operations, cost-effective development, concept improvements, and global harmonization of SWIM elements.

The current state of SWIM developments in Europe has been a great source for, and is aligned with, the ICAO Manual on SWIM Concept and the ICAO GANP/ASBUs. In order to foster European SWIM implementation the European Commission has adopted the Pilot Common Project (PCP) regulation which includes, among others, provisions for the deployment of initial SWIM (iSWIM) based on the SESAR Programme outputs.

The iSWIM activities will be supported by relevant standards and guidance through the planned Eurocontrol SWIM Foundation technical specification documentation detailing further the SWIM building blocks such as the ATM Information Reference Model (AIRM), the services rule book providing guidance for service building, SWIM Technical Infrastructure Profiles and Registry usage.

The Eurocontrol Network Manager continues to be a front runner in SWIM deployment with the Business to Business (NM B2B) web services covering flight Services (flight preparation, flight plan filing and management), airspace services (management & publication of airspace information), general information services and flow services (flow & capacity management).

These NM B2B Web services are used operationally by over 200 organisations across the ATM stakeholder community from filing a Flight Plan and checking airspace constraints up to implementing ATFCM measures. The (secured) Internet-based service continues to grow and in 2015 reached 1.5 million interchanges per day. Stakeholders rapidly adopt this online business model triggering an ATM business transformation. Indeed it is noted that software start-ups exploit the opportunities offered by the use of internet’s technologies to step into the ATM business. See

In the context of SWIM deployment, it is also worth noting the Arrival Management (AMAN) developments by NATS (UK) with the SESAR Masterclass award winning “Arrival Sequence Service” as one of the SESAR ATM Information Services and which has now entered operations and proving to have operational benefits in the order of tens of millions of euros per year. See

Many more SWIM success stories can be found on

The next phase for SWIM is now to start SWIM enabled applications exchanging flight and flow information with countries outside the European region. The main objective is to improve traffic predictability with a time horizon of 3 hours before entering the European area. This has been successfully implemented with FAA and is planned to be extended to the Emirates, Brazil and soon hopefully to more. The 2016 ICAO General Assembly will be a good opportunity to seek further global agreement for the need of a SWIM enabled application for ‘Global ATFM’ to use harmonised data exchange and associated operational procedures.

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 system

In the case of the NM B2B, testimonials from Airlines are clearly showing that the increased data and information availability leads to more optimised filing of flight plans. The NATS Extended AMAN case is demonstrating that now it is becoming possible to minimise the holding stacks of Heathrow by exchanging information with air traffic controllers in the Netherlands, France, Scotland and Ireland up to 350 miles away thereby minimising delays on arrival.

Contribution to increasing safety of ATM systems

SWIM implementations provide increased system interoperability and information sharing which leads to greater availability and trust in the data and information quality. The first observed operational benefit is an improved shared situational awareness and improved collaborative decision making. Enhanced controller tools use this information to minimise potential conflicts and support controllers' interventions.

Contribution to reducing ATM costs

The use of SWIM standards, governance, and mainstream technology has proven benefits in terms of reducing IT costs. It improves outsourcing, buying and re-use capabilities. The improved interoperability reduces time and effort for design, development and deployment for connecting legacy systems.

Contribution to reducing the impact of air transport on the environment

A good example of positive benefits of SWIM on environment is the NATS Extended AMAN SWIM implementation which reduces CO2 emissions by 32.000 ton / year.

Early implementation ("First mover")

SWIM is a concept created by ATM in 1998. Only through the SESAR programme has it become a reality and the SWIM developments and implementations in Europe are truly world leading. Through the pioneering application of SWIM Services by the Network Manager everybody has started to 'believe' in the benefits and opportunities of SWIM.

Potential to be replicated over the ATM network

Through the PCP iSWIM and its relevant baseline of standards and information exchange capabilities, SWIM services can be more smoothly introduced in the whole European network, thereby maximising the benefits to all.

Innovative aspects

SWIM Developments in Europe are unprecedented in the ATM history. Although originally foreseen only for inter-system ground-ground exchanges the SWIM principles are now being extended to intra-ATC centre, cross regional information exchanges as well as for Air-Ground connectivity developments. Thanks to SWIM the much promoted and required Virtual ATC centre concept is starting to demonstrate itself through remotely connected controller working positions as seen in the MUAC virtualisation implementations and Common Services.

Promoting partnerships

Through the SESAR SWIM Masterclass literally hundreds of organisations have begun to cooperate and exchange information. Many of the Masterclass winners were consortia of organisations that teamed up to deliver, as the sum of their contribution, far greater added value than would have been the case through their individual contributions.

Contribution to change management

SWIM is key to enabling to see a true and market driven business transformation within ATM whereby traditional business models are being challenged and a new service driven business model will shape the future ATM Market.

Promoting SES and SESAR beyond the Union's boundaries

With the uptake of SESAR SWIM in the ICAO Global Air Navigation Plan and the associated ICAO SWIM Document 10039, the whole global e-community is now starting actively planning and working on SWIM implementation. As SESAR SWIM is based on open standards and by definition is inclusive to all ATM stakeholders this is reflecting very positively on the European region.

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