Faced with significant traffic increase across France, the French air navigation service provider DSNA and Thales, the world leader in ATM, have been working together to implement 4–FLIGHT, a new-generation ATM system for en-route control, in two pilot centres at Marseille and Reims. The Marseille and Reims area control centres (ACCs) are due to be operational in the winter of 2021/2022. The Paris ACC will be operational in the winter of 2022/2023.
4-FLIGHT is a complex ATM programme that encompasses the development of a new-generation stripless control system for high-density airspace. It incorporates the Coflight advanced flight data processing system, a user interface offering a range of innovative control tools, and an advanced simulation environment.
Moreover, this new platform is a major enabler for the integration of the innovative solutions developed for SESAR, the technical pillar of the Single European Sky. 4-FLIGHT will ultimately equip all five French ACCs.
This long-term programme, co-financed by INEA and designed to meet the challenges of the Single European Sky, achieved a number of significant milestones in 2018. Based on incremental deployment principles, live trials of the system began in 2017 at the Marseille and Reims ACCs during reduced night-time service hours, and have continued successfully, with the complexity of the trials progressively being increased.
Software version validations are also taking place incrementally, and feedback on the latest release has been very positive. Three additional versions are planned to provide the system with the full operational capability required for routine operations.
“The 4-FLIGHT programme deployment is progressing well and the latest software upgrades and system trials have been a great success, with the first operational deployment expected in the winter of 2021/2022. 4-FLIGHT benefits from the latest technologies available, in line with the Single European Sky objectives, to optimise the efficiency of European Air Traffic Management, and we are proud to be contributing to this important undertaking."
Jean Ferré, Thales Vice President, Air Traffic Management activities
"The operations rooms of our two pilot centres are subject to further transformation in order to accommodate sufficient 4-FLIGHT suites without downgrading capacity. At the Reims ACC, half of the control suites are already equipped. We are also focused on the launch of conversion training for our operational Air Traffic Controllers (ATCOs) and Air Traffic Safety Electronics Personnel (ATSEPs). This is another big challenge that the ACCs must deal with at the same time. With 4-FLIGHT, DSNA will offer higher quality, more competitive and fully SESAR-aligned services to all aircraft operators in some of Europe's busiest airspace.”
Maurice GEORGES, CEO DSNA