EUROCONTROL Selects SITA to Lay Foundations for the Single European Sky

EUROCONTROL, the European organisation for the safety of air navigation, today announced SITA as its network service provider for the Pan European Network Service (PENS) which will allow air navigation service providers from 38 countries to exchange operational voice and data communications across a common network for the first time.

The decision, a necessary precursor to the creation of a ‘Single European Sky’, was made public today at the eleventh meeting of the EUROCONTROL air navigation services board (ANSB) attended by the chief executive officers of a number of European air navigation service providers (ANSPs).

David McMillan, EUROCONTROL’s director general, said: “SITA’s selection, following an intensive competitive tendering exercise, is the culmination of over 15 years of discussion; and reflects the vision of a pan-European network as a means to integrate the national telecommunication networks of the air navigation service providers. This important development will help us ensure sustainable air transport development in Europe in a safe and efficient manner.”

PENS, a managed internet-protocol-based regional communications backbone service, will enable the 38 ANSPs of the EUROCONTROL member states to exchange operational ATC voice and data communications in a seamless and integrated manner. It will provide an alternative to the ad-hoc bi-lateral communications that are largely in place today between the ANSPs, resulting in increased service levels and reduced overall costs.

It will serve both today’s needs for inter-ANSP information exchange and those envisioned by SESAR – the Single European Sky air traffic management (ATM) research programme – under its system-wide information management initiative, thus laying a key foundation for the Single European Sky with its goals of increasing capacity, improving safety, reducing aviation’s environmental impact and cutting ATM costs by 50%.

PENS will additionally replace the individual IP network services that have been delivering services to EUROCONTROL’s central flow management unit’s (CFMU) and European aeronautical information service database’s (EAD) centralised applications, thus delivering further economies of scale given the number of common points where both CFMU and EAD services are delivered.

Francesco Violante, SITA’s chief executive officer, said: “EUROCONTROL and the European ANSPs are to be congratulated for arriving at this major milestone in the evolution towards the Single European Sky. I believe PENS will deliver significant cost savings, greater efficiencies and will enable the introduction of new pan-European applications to enhance the safety of air navigation service provision across the continent.

EUROCONTROL and the European ANSPs can rely on SITA’s commitment to the air traffic management market and we will deliver the PENS according to schedule along with the highest levels of customer service.”

At the signature ceremony, held at EUROCONTROL in Brussels, the PENS contract for the integration of CFMU and EAD network services into PENS was signed by EUROCONTROL and SITA.

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