The UK-Ireland Functional Airspace Block (FAB) has successfully tested the SESAR concept for cross-border dynamic sectorisation, which involves switching air traffic services between air navigation service providers (ANSP).

The testing was carried out in two phases, with the second involving the tactical switch of a section of Irish airspace between Irish and UK air traffic management systems.

UK air traffic controllers at NATS live-shadowed a portion of Irish airspace, and Irish and UK controllers worked closely to assess the impact of real-time dynamic sectorisation.

NATS Prestwick Centre Director of Operations Alastair Muir said: "This has been a major piece of work that takes us a step closer to the vision of a single European sky.

"This has been a major piece of work that takes us a step closer to the vision of a single European sky."

"By completing this phase of the trial and also testing the interoperability of our new flight data processing system with the system already used by the IAA, we have now delivered all of the initial objectives of the Dynamic Sectorisation Operational Trial (DSOT) project and more."

The findings of the trial are expected to help extend the provision of free route airspace (FRA) across UK-Ireland FAB airspace.

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In 2014, the UK-Ireland FAB completed the first phase of the DSOT project, which saw the Irish ANSP, the IAA, deliver air traffic control services in a segment of UK airspace.

FRA is expected to provide airlines and business aviation with more route options while flying through UK and Irish airspace.

Part of a voluntary collaboration between nine Northern European ANSPs and three FABs, the IAA and NATS aim to introduce a single, flight-plannable area of FRA in Northern Europe by 2021.