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S-AF3.2 — Free Route

Free Route may be deployed both through the use of Direct Routing Airspace and through FRA. Direct Routing Airspace is the airspace defined laterally and vertically with a set of entry/exit conditions where published direct routings are available. Within this airspace, flights remain subject to air traffic control. To facilitate early implementation before the target deployment date, free route could be implemented in a limited way during defined periods. Procedures for transitioning between free route and fixed route operations shall be set. Initial implementation of Free Route may be done on a structurally limited basis, for example by restricting the available entry/exit points for certain traffic flows, through the publication of DCTs, which will allow airspace users to flight plan on the basis of those published DCTs. DCT availability may be subject to traffic demand and/ or time constraints. The implementation of FRA based on DCTs may allow the removal of the ATS route network. FRA and DCT shall be published in aeronautical publications as described in the European Route Network Improvement Plan of the Network Manager.

Deployment Target Date


System Requirements

Network management systems shall implement:
- Flight plan processing and checking for DCTs and FRA
- IFPS routing proposals based on FRA
- dynamic re-routing
- ATFCM planning and execution within FRA
- calculation and management of traffic loads
ATC systems shall implement the following:
- Flight data processing system, including HMI, to manage trajectory/flight planning without reference to the fixed ATS network
- Flight planning systems to support FRA and cross-border operations
- ASM/ATFCM to manage FRA
- for FRA, Medium Term Conflict Detection (MTCD) including Conflict Detection Tools (CDT), Conflict Resolution Assistant (CORA), Conformance Monitoring, and APW for dynamic airspace volumes/sectors; Trajectory prediction and de-confliction shall support an automated MTCD tool adapted to operate in FRA airspace and, when required, on DCT
ATC systems may receive and utilise updated flight data coming from an aircraft (ADS-C EPP) where data link functionality is available.
Airspace users' systems shall implement flight planning systems to manage dynamic sector configuration and FRA.
Flight Data Processing System (FDPS) shall support FRA, DCT and A-FUA.
The controller working position shall support the operating environments, as appropriate.

Geographical Scope

Flexible Airspace Management and Free Route shall be provided and operated in the airspace for which the Member States are responsible at and above flight level 310 in the ICAO EUR region.


Code Title IOC Related Elements Analysis
AAMS-06c Local ASM Tools to be updated to support Transmission of VPA-related data from local ASM tool to the NM 31-12-2016 Analysis
AAMS-09a NM systems enhanced to exchange static data and airspace usage data with ASM support systems in AIXM format 31-12-2014 Analysis
AAMS-11 ASM support systems enhanced to exchange real-time airspace status updates 31-12-2016 Analysis
AAMS-16a Airspace management functions equipped with tools able to deal with free-routing 31-12-2016 Analysis
AOC-ATM-10 Modification of AOC/WOC-ATM trajectory management system (or new systems) to allow quality of service requested by NOP for pre-flight trajectory with dynamic routing 31-12-2019 Analysis
CTE-C05a VoIP for ground telephony Analysis
CTE-C05b Digital Voice / VoIP for ground segment of Air-Ground voice Analysis
ER APP ATC 15 Flight Data Processing: support Dynamic Sectorisation and Dynamic Constraint Management. Analysis
ER APP ATC 75 Enhance FDP for Direct Route and Free Route Operations 31-12-2016 Analysis
ER APP ATC 77 ATC Systems enhanced to exchange real-time (tactical) airspace status data with ASM support system 31-12-2019 Analysis
ER APP ATC 78 Update FDP to support 4D trajectory direct segments in free routing airspace beyond local AoR 31-12-2026 Analysis
ER APP ATC 129 Upgrade FDP and provide Controller Tools to provide assistance to ATC Planning for Preventing Conflicts in En-Route Airspace Analysis
ER ATC 91 ATC System Support for Advanced Conformance Monitoring in En-route Airspace 31-12-2016 Analysis
  NIMS-21a Initial Flight Planning management enhanced to support 4D for Step 1 31-12-2016 Analysis
NIMS-29 Network DCB sub-system enhanced for Network Operations Plan (NOP) preparation and dissemination 31-12-2010 Analysis
NIMS-37 Basic Complexity assessment tools 31-12-2019 Analysis
NIMS-42 NM systems enhanced to receive, process and display real-time tactical (ASM level III) airspace usage information 31-12-2016 Analysis
PRO-085 ATC procedures to cover issues such as hand-off, transfer of control, and for defining trajectory changes necessitated by changes in airspace availability, weather constraints and other non-nominal events Analysis
STD-033 Flight Information Exchange Model v4 incl. ICAO FPL 2012, Extended Flight Plan and Flight Objects elements, in accordance with SESAR FIXM Strategy. 31-12-2016 Analysis
STD-061 Updated EUROCONTROL Specification for MTCD (PCP) 31-12-2016 Analysis
STD-062 Updated EUROCONTROL Specification for MONA (PCP) 31-12-2016 Analysis
STD-063 Updated EUROCONTROL Specification for Trajectory Prediction (PCP) 31-12-2016 Analysis
STD-064 EUROCONTROL Guidelines for APW (PCP) 31-12-2016 Analysis
SWIM-APS-01a Provision of G/G Aeronautical Information services 31-12-2020 Analysis
SWIM-APS-02a Consumption of Aeronautical Information services 31-12-2020 Analysis
SWIM-APS-03a Provision of G/G ATFCM Information Services 31-12-2020 Analysis
SWIM-APS-04a Consumption of G/G ATFCM Information Services 31-12-2020 Analysis

Implementation Objectives

Code Title Related Elements
AOM21.1 Direct Routing
AOM21.2 Initial Free Route Airspace

ICAO Block Modules