Europe-wide system will enable advanced communications and air-traffic management

Eurocontrol has been given the task of revolutionising global aeronautical information service (AIS) provision. The organisation expects to have a strategy for an integrated, global, more accurate AIS than the current disparate systems by the end of this year, says Eurocontrol's aeronautical information management (AIM) unit head Ken Reid.

At an AIM symposium in Toulouse, France, late last month, Eurocontrol was given the green light to begin "the transition from paper-product AIS to the provision and management of AIM". High-quality aeronautical information is seen as a vital enabler for future communications, navigation and surveillance/air traffic management (CNS/ATM) and to improve safety. Eurocontrol says it will begin implementation next year.

A system keystone will be the European AIS Database, described as "a database of European static and dynamic information to be maintained by individual states and made accessible to all stakeholders". This will include all types of information, ranging from meteorology to airport runway lengths.

As well as integrating and providing easy access to worldwide sources of AIS, increasing its accuracy and integrity by a factor of around three will be essential to providing operational data good enough to enable the precision use of CNS/ATM, says Reid. The first phase - AIS Automation and Harmonisation of European Aeronautical Data (AIS AHEAD) - will improve accuracy.

Reid says AIS can be delivered to end users via the internet, aeronautical fixed telecommunications networks like SITA, dedicated landlines, or suppliers of customised data like Jeppesen or Lufthansa's Lido.

Data from World Geodetic Survey topographic to meteorological information and aircraft performance will be in the AIM domain. Eurocontrol hopes to see an advance from the old ARINC 44 data standards for upload to aircraft flight management systems, which is dictated by manufacturer licensing arrangements.

Ultimately AIM is intended to be an open-architecture data exchange system. Already in use is the AIS Agora web-based forum for stakeholders "voicing problems and sharing solutions".

Source: Flight International