Lufthansa Systems Blog

SESAR, the road to readiness


Nov 15, 2019

Get your Ops Control ready for the Pilot Common Project and gear up for System Wide Information Management.

In order to take advantage of SESAR deployment, airlines have to embrace the PCP. Operations Control Center readiness is decisive. Continuous communication with the Network Manager and permanent participation in Collaborative Decision Making are just two cornerstones. As well, the new PCP’s ATM functionalities will take advantage of a fresh paradigm for real time exchange of operational information: SWIM, the System Wide Information Management. In a very near future, in fact, operational information exchanges will turn more and more real time. Not preparing for this will cause inefficient access to ATM resources.


In our last post we discussed how the PCP is not “just another” regulation but rather it is about generating opportunities for the airline business. We focused on adoption, i.e. on the fact that full benefit can only be achieved if airlines embrace the PCP and fit it into their daily business. Essentially, by integrating new use cases and adapting the existing ones to a specific goal: leveraging the information made available by the PCP functionalities to improve the operational performance.

Get your Ops Control ready!

On our look for the road to readiness, let´s focus on a specific element of airline operations. In fact, once you have it ready… you are almost at destination! It is the Operations Control.

The PCP lays the foundation for a new trajectory and collaboration-based ATM having many implications for airline operations. We spoke about trajectories in the last post, remember? Airlines generate the air traffic and hold a decision-making responsibility on related trajectories. Since most of the PCP´s ATM functionalities involve making decisions on the trajectories, our clear advice was to gear up for it! Sooner or later, in fact, those who are not preparing to interact properly with the other ATM stakeholders will undergo an inefficient access to ATM resources (and – not to be understated – will jeopardize the expected system-wide benefits). Airlines’ Operations Control Centers (OCCs) will play a crucial role here, as new ATM stakeholders. A key success factor for the new ATM functionalities being deployed is in fact the full integration of the OCC´s decision processes into ATM. Such a role does however challenge their current setup: among others, in terms of processes, workflows, span of control responsibility and staff competence. Therefore, adoption is certainly a matter for OCCs. 

How to get there? The road to OCC readiness

We are suggesting here a simple approach to ensure your airline is on top of the game:

  1. Understand the new ATM functionalities.
  2. Perform an organizational readiness check by analyzing current use cases and define how they need to change in the light of the PCP.
  3. Define the new ones expected to bring considerable performance benefits.
  4. Derive the requirements in terms of technology, people, processes and organization as a whole.
  5. Design a change roadmap and select relevant implementation partners.

…And don’t miss the chance, think SWIM!

An essential component of the trajectory and collaboration-based ATM just mentioned is the SWIM enabled information exchange. The PCP addresses an ATM functionality named “iSWIM” where the “i” stands for “initial”. Indeed these are the initial steps in Europe towards the deployment of the new information exchange paradigm adopted by ICAO some years ago. SWIM intends to boost the real time exchange of aeronautical, weather and flight information between all stakeholders and users of the airspace, such as airport operational status, aerodrome weather, trajectories, status of special use airspace and traffic flow management constraints. It is central for the implementation of many PCP’s ATM functionalities. And be careful! All the information we need in order to execute the flight operations will be made available (therefore, accessible) through SWIM services in the near future. Current ground-ground communication will just be a memory!  

You wouldn´t want to miss a more efficient route just because you aren´t able to communicate, would you?

Transitioning to a SWIM compliant OCC is a long journey. Many areas need to be taken into consideration: hardware infrastructure, software applications and operational procedures. Thus, even though the deployment target date for iSWIM in the PCP seems far away (January 2025), airlines ought to start preparing now, not to miss their chance. In fact, the operational performance improvements disclosed by the PCP’s ATM functionalities comes through here!

SWIM is a complex matter that requires a strategy. Would you like to hear more about that in a subsequent post? Let us know! In our next post, however, we will discuss how Lufthansa Systems Airline Consulting can support you in creating a change roadmap to get your Ops Control ready for the PCP and enabled for SWIM.

Tags: airline consultingFindtherightpartnerairline efficiencyAirline OperationsSESARleveragePCPregulationLufthansa Systems Blog
Davide Bardelli
Director Consultant
Author-page, 6 posts
Lufthansa Systems Blog