Original publication: May 2016
Authors: Imperial College London: Professor Washington Yotto Ochieng, FREng Dr Milena Studic
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Status Report on the Deployment of SESAR

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The Air Traffic Management (ATM) system ensures safe, orderly and expeditious flow of air traffic on the ground and in the air. Over the years many initiatives have aimed to improve the ATM’s physical infrastructure, increasing the levels of automation and making operational changes to improve air traffic flow.

Despite these efforts, it was found that these changes are not sufficient to cope with the predicted growth in air traffic in both the short- and long-term. To cope with the increasing demand for air travel, a new global Concept of Operations (ConOps) was developed by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to improve user flexibility and maximise operational efficiency in order to increase capacity, improve safety and reduce the impact of aviation on the environment.

The European Union’s (EU) application of this ConOps started in 2004 through the Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) programme. Since its establishment, SESAR has gone through the Definition phase (2005-08) and the Development phase (2008-13), and is currently in the final Deployment phase (2014-20), which is the focus of this report.

In summary, the main findings are that:
  • Significant effort has been made to create an integrated management structure for SESAR Deployment (Figure 1) with a clear assignment of responsibilities and interfaces/interactions (details in Section 2). This structure should facilitate the removal of potentially unnecessary duplication of effort and wastage of resources. Within the context of this structure, the following issues should be addressed to
    achieve maximum cohesion and integration:
    − Coordination between the ATM Master Plan (in particular the Implementation View of the Master Plan which includes the European Single Sky ImPlementation (ESSIP) Plan) and the Deployment Programme (DP) (for Pilot Common Project (PCP) related elements);
    − Ensuring complementarity between the ATM Master Plan planning and implementation reporting mechanism (ESSIP/Local Single Sky ImPlementation (LSSIP)), and the SESAR Deployment Manager (SDM) reporting mechanism.
  • As the implementation of the PCP started in 2014, it is too early to quantify the benefits of the SESAR Deployment to date in terms of the SESAR Key Performance Areas (KPAs). The initial cost benefit analysis determined the overall benefit to be accrued from the PCP as EUR 2.4 billion for the period 2014-2030.
  • There is in place a monitoring and reporting structure, with the task of quantifying the actual operational benefits embedded in it. However, potential conflict of interest in this function should be avoided through a wholly independent process.
  • From the information provided by the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA), the expenditure on PCP via the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) funding mechanism was EUR 325.4 million in 2014 (Table 2), with a further indicative EUR 446.9 million for the Call for Proposals issued in 2015. This is out of a total of EUR 3 billion investment expected for the period 2014-2020 for the PCP. The expenditure to date in terms of the proposals funded in the CEF Call 2014, identifying the coordinating applicants and the participating EU Member States, is presented in Table 2. However, the breakdown at stakeholder and State levels were not provided
    by INEA for reasons of confidentiality.
  • To date, the implementation of the PCP is on time, although there are delays anticipated in the ESSIP Report for a number of the PCP pre-requisites. For these delays, the SDM is looking at ways of accelerating the implementations to deviate as little as possible from the original target end dates. Information on the consequences of the delays in terms of cost is still to be determined.
  • The Stakeholder’s Consultation Platform (SCP) appears effective: results based on the data from 2014 and 2015 show a significant increase not only in the project allocation but also in the stakeholder participation. In order to increase further the level of engagement of the operational stakeholders, during the DP2016 updating process, the Stakeholders’ Consultation process will be expanded from three to over six months allowing for two rounds of consultation prior to submission of the DP2016 draft to the EC (SESAR Deployment Manager, 2015a).
  • To achieve the full potential of the PCP, countries that do not belong to the EU but are a part of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) or neighbouring States (third countries) are expected to implement parts of the PCP. Their involvement is either as formal partners or as third parties whose air transport activities have close links with those of the EU.
  • Risk management is a critical element of the SDM’s responsibility. The 2015 Deployment Programme (DP2015) contains a detailed analysis of risks together with the ways to mitigate them. These are reviewed on a continuous basis and updates are made. In addition to these risks, further limitations in the SESAR Deployment have been identified in this report (Section 2.9) and should be incorporated into DP2016 together with their mitigations.
  • The SESAR Deployment Governance has three levels: Implementation, Management and Policy levels. However, the highest level (the Policy level) is not yet in place. This is required urgently in order to ensure a better involvement of State Authorities in the process, because ultimately States are responsible for the implementation of the PCP, as declared in the National Safety Authority (NSA) guidance for SESAR Deployment.
    • • The implementation of the Pilot Common Project (PCP) is on time and underpinned by a credible management structure with a clear assignment of responsibilities and interactions/interfaces.
    • • Although there are delays anticipated for a number of the PCP pre-requisites, the SESAR Deployment Manager (SDM) is looking at ways of accelerating the implementations to deviate as little as possible from the original target end dates. Information on the consequences of the delays in terms of cost is still to be determined.
    • • The expenditure to date through the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) mechanism is EUR 325.4 million, out of EUR 3 billion planned for 2014-2020 for the PCP.
    • • The implementation of the PCP is at an early stage. Hence, the benefits in terms of the Key Performance Areas (KPAs) are still to be quantified.

Link to the full study: http://bit.ly/573-436

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