Italy has finally become a full member of Eurocontrol, clearing the way for its full participation in the agency's efforts to harmonise air traffic control (ATC) throughout Europe.

Italy is the 21st nation to join Eurocontrol, its membership having previously been blocked by successive governments, which failed to ratify membership. The country already participates in Eurocontrol's Eatchip ATC harmonisation programme, and has allowed its Rome ATC centre to be integrated into the Central Flow Management Unit (CFMU). Eurocontrol's finances will benefit from Italy's financial contribution from route overcharges.

Airlines filing flight plans to the CFMU can now use a paperless on-line process connecting to Eurocontrol's Integrated Flight Plan Processing System (IFPPS). The IFPPS consists of two computers, one at Haren in Belgium and the other at Bretigny-sur-Orge, near Paris in France.

The system processes the flight plans for accuracy, takes account of likely congestion, sends them automatically to ATC units in any of the 32 participating countries, and advises the airline of the route.

Source: Flight International