Europe’s airports embrace digital transformation with SESAR’s innovative excellence

SESAR Joint Undertaking – the European Commission’s Single European Sky ATM Research programme – has developed technologies that have proved beneficial to Europe’s airports as regards safety, operational and environmental performance and, ultimately, the passenger experience. Given the relevance of SESAR innovation and implementation for airports, ACI EUROPE released a publication on SESAR Joint Undertaking’s pivotal role in supporting the digital transformation of airports. Inês Rebelo reports.

Digital transformation and technology are clearly shaping the future of the airport business – enabling improvements in operational performance and safety, as well as a reduced environmental footprint. In particular, SESAR technological solutions are helping Europe’s airports to embrace the next generation of innovation in order to enhance the efficiency of their airside operations and provide a better passenger experience. This is all the more important in light of the current lack of airport capacity in Europe, ATM disruptions and the need for better integration of air and ground infrastructure.

Olivier Jankovec, Director General of ACI EUROPE, & Peter Hotham, Deputy Executive Director of SESAR Joint Undertaking, at the launch of the ACI EUROPE publication entitled SESAR and the Digital Transformation of Europe’s Airports at ACI Airport Exchange in Oslo in November 2018.

Europe’s airports have to find ways to meet the growing traffic demand and passenger expectations for a seamless and safe journey through more cost-efficient, secure and sustainable operations. This is why airports are working closely with the SESAR Joint Undertaking to develop and deliver technologies for runway throughput, integrated surface management, airport safety nets, total airport management and remote towers, to name but a few. But how much are EU policymakers and the entire aviation community aware of how SESAR is equipping Europe’s airports with the necessary digital solutions that are contributing to the modernisation of the European ATM system?

With this in mind, ACI EUROPE launched a new publication entitled SESAR and the Digital Transformation of Europe’s Airports at ACI Airport Exchange in November 2018 in Oslo. This publication showcases the technologies and solutions that have been developed by the SESAR Joint Undertaking on the airside in a comprehensive and accessible manner. It aims to engage more airport operators in the next wave of operational innovation, by detailing some of the proven SESAR solutions that can transform airports’ performance and keep the airport industry competitive at a global scale.

The publication is divided into three main chapters: Chapter 1 gives an overview of the ACI EUROPE and SESAR work on airport digitalisation. Chapter 2 describes how airport operations today and up to 2035 will be shaped by SESAR solutions. This is explained in short stories about key solutions, including remote towers and “Follow the Greens”, which are already bringing benefits to airports in terms of enhanced safety, improved operational efficiency, reduced costs and environmental mitigation. Meanwhile, chapter 3 looks into the future and reflects on what airport operations might look like beyond 2035. It also focuses on some emerging trends, including automation, virtualisation, big data analytics and the integration of drone technology in airport operations, showing how SESAR is already preparing airports for a new era in aviation.

For airports, SESAR represents a key and vital partner. Olivier Jankovec, Director General of ACI EUROPE, comments: “SESAR is both the test-bed and gateway to the widest collection of proven technological solutions for airport operations in Europe. As such, it has come to play an important role in advancing the business of airports and their competitive edge – alongside the delivery of the Single European Sky technological pillar of ATM modernisation.”

For SESAR, airports are crucial actors in the ATM system and innovative stakeholders in the aviation chain. “Through our collaboration with ACI EUROPE and the direct membership of airports through the SESAR Airport Consortium, we are embracing digital disruption in order to advance the development and uptake of solutions that will transform airside operations in the years to come,” Florian Guillermet, Executive Director of SESAR Joint Undertaking, said.

With SESAR’s innovative technologies, airports are improving their airside operations, increasing Europe’s aviation performance and delivering a better passenger experience.

You can download the SESAR and the Digital Transformation of Europe’s Airports at https://www.aci-europe. org/component/downloads/downloads/5795.html

If you would like to receive a hard copy, please email ines.rebelo@aci-europe.org

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