The European Commission has awarded more than €1.15 million in financing to a study which aims to design and validate the establishment of High Level Sectors (HLS) over Irish and British airspace. This will allow for more direct routes for high-altitude flights and will optimise the workload for national Air Traffic Management (ATM) service providers, thus increasing safety and reducing the environmental impact of the sector.
The National Air Traffic Services (NATS) and the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA), two years after the signature of a cooperation agreement concerning Functional Arirspace Blocks (FABs), will be carrying out an extensive study to design and validate the establishment of High Level Sectors (HLS) covering the IAA/NATS FAB across the UK and Ireland Flight Information Region (FIR).
The study, which was submitted under the 2010 TEN-T Multi-Annual Call for Proposals in the field of FAB and selected for funding by the European Commission, will be co-financed at a rate of 50% of its eligible costs.
Upon conclusion of the study, in 2012, overflights should be provided with direct routing and be aimed at ensuring that sectorisation is optimised against traffic flows, thus balancing controller workload and improving safety.
Furthermore, with regards to environmental flight efficiency, the creation of large “super sectors” should enable greater use of direct routings, whilst the use of future controller support tools should reduce the overall track miles flown. Overall, this will translate in reduced emissions from flights in this particular sector of European airspace.
All key stakeholders (public, commercial and governmental) will be consulted throughout the process to validate and agree with this optimised Air Traffic Management design. This study takes place in the global framework of the Single European Sky legislation which requires Member States and Air National Service Providers to develop policies to coordinate their services, with the aim of implementing their FABs by 2012.