Weekly Review #194 - Massive modernisation for a third of the UK's airspace infrastructure

Picture of Vincent Lambercy
Posted by Vincent Lambercy

First, we look to the UK where NATS implemented one of their biggest airspace modernisation changes over South West England and Wales. Following four years of development, the organisation deployed systemisation and Free Route Airspace simultaneously, transforming a third of the UK’s airspace infrastructure. The West Airspace Deployment helps deliver a more sustainable future for air travel and supports the UK government’s Airspace Modernisation Strategy.

Next, we turn to the US where the Biden-Harris administration has pledged $20 million in funding to modernize 29 airport control towers. The FAA will award the money from Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to airport owned traffic control towers across the nation, upgrading and building control towers in small towns and regional airports.


In Sweden, ESSP and Saab Digital Air Traffic Solutions AB signed an EGNOS Working Agreement. This is a key step for the implementation of EGNOS-based approach procedures in Sweden. EGNOS' precision signals and services will provide a cost-effective air navigation solution for the country.


Finally, there are exciting advancements from SESAR JU with their controller voice recognition tool. They are reseraching automatic speech recognition and understanding (ASRU) to save flight time and fuel burn, while lessening controllers' workloads. German Aerospace Center (DLR) and its partner Idiap developed an ASRU tool capable of reducing the additional clicking time by a factor of 30.


ANSP news

Airports news

Market news

Context information

Reports and data

Research and innovation

  • ACI-SESAR 3 JU Digital Transformation Award - The Digital Transformation Award, an initiative of the SESAR 3 Joint Undertaking in collaboration with ACI EUROPE, will recognise a European airport that has embraced digitalisation, adopting innovative technologies and procedures to improve the safety, capacity, efficiency and environmental footprint of its airside operations.
  • The Data Engineering Role. How is it different to Data Science? - Data engineering is a key enabler of the modern aviation industry as it underpins the process of collecting and analysing the vast amounts of data generated by the many complex systems involved in air travel. These systems cover aircraft sensors to weather stations and traffic control systems.
  • Attention and virtual training - When COVID and mobility restrictions hit in 2020, virtual training (i.e. education in a virtual environment), where synchronised learning takes place, with everybody connected at the same time, sounded like a panacea for ab-initio air traffic control training, where ab-initio is defined as programs that take an individual with very little or no experience and create a competent, professional controller.
  • Getting real about virtual centres - SESAR JU - The solution brings versatility in the delivery of air traffic services and supports service continuity in contingency situations. Virtual centres also promise more cost-effective service provision for airspace users since they enable ANSPs to better share resources thereby reduce capital expenditure.
  • Reduced flight time and fuel burn on the cards with controller voice recognition tool - SESAR JU - SESAR researchers have turned to automatic speech recognition and understanding as a solution that can potentially save flight time and fuel burn, while alleviating controllers of some of their workload.


  • ADW23: The business case for commercial drone operations - Whether or not the industry has a business case for many different types of drone operations was a consistent theme throughout Amsterdam Drone Week. One very interesting discussion on this topic was a panel with Droneup, Droniq, SkyGrid, Airbus, NS (the Netherlands Railway) and moderation by the GSMA.
  • CORUS-XUAM final workshop, 29-30 March, agenda now available with online link - Unmanned airspace - The SESAR CORUS-XUAM Very Large Demonstration (VLD) project is organising the Final Workshop kindly hosted by Distretto Tecnologico Aerospaziale (DTA) to present the outcomes of six VLDs conducted in various European countries and the consolidated U-space ConOps developed jointly with all relevant SESAR2020 U-space related projects and in close coordination with the SESAR 3 JU U-space ConOps Coordination Cell.