French air traffic control centres have started introducing a new-generation air navigation system developed by Thales.

Reims area centre, the first deployment site, inaugurated its system – known as 4-Flight – on 8 December, following implementation in mid-June.

A second pilot centre, Marseilles, formally implemented 4-Flight on 6 December.

French air navigation service DSNA will expand the programme to the three other en route centres – Paris, Brest and Bordeaux – by 2025.

Thales says the full roll-out will mean air traffic controllers will operate with a single system across French upper airspace, a region of some 1 million km².

The company says the system is intended to “ensure a smoother flow of flights”.

Thales 4-Flight-c-Thales

Source: Thales

DSNA and Thales will implement 4-Flight initially at Reims and Marseille

It is centred on an advanced flight-data processing system, branded Coflight, which provides controllers with accurate forecasts of four-dimensional flight trajectories.

This enables them to optimise routes and increase flight efficiency, with the benefit of reduced fuel-burn, shorter flight duration, and lower emissions.

The system is interoperable with equipment controlling neighbouring airspace, and is connected to 10 other air navigation service providers.

Thales says 4-Flight is co-funded by the European Union under the Single European Sky modernisation initiative.

DNSA and Thales inaugurated 4-Flight at Reims during an event attended by French transport minister Clement Beaune.

“This represents a major European air navigation milestone for the sustainable recovery of air transport,” says DSNA chief Florian Guillermet.

“Implementation [of 4-Flight] proves the commitment of DSNA to pursue its technological modernisation to deliver the challenges of the ‘Digital European Sky’, and high-quality and more competitive service.”