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Digital Evolution of Separation Minima in En-route and TMA


It is anticipated that this work will support the development of a future SESAR solutions that will make it possible to move away from 'pre-determined' one-size-fits-all minima that are in use in current operations towards a more dynamic view of separation minima, whereby ATC separates aircraft to an assured minimum risk (dynamically determined for each pair of aircraft depending on the aircraft types, the geometry of the encounter and the atmospheric conditions) rather than a defined distance standard'.

The new separation scheme may include the consideration of reduced vertical separation minima, potentially including the possibility of using a minimum vertical separation of 500 ft. from the ground to unlimited, which may allow the use of intermediate flight levels, e.g. 275, 285, 295, 305…. This reduced vertical separation scheme is referred to as RVSM 2.0 and would dramatically increase airspace capacity both in en-route and the TMA. The new separation scheme may also consider the use of combin

Keeping aircraft separated from each other is one of the core functions of ATM. In the SESAR concept, ground automation supports air traffic controllers in their task of providing separation management. Separation management starts by strategically limiting the density of potential separation conflicts (i.e. limiting traffic density and traffic complexity), but is ultimately ensured tactically by keeping aircraft separated at or above the pre-defined separation minima. The RECAT and Time Based Separation (TBS) activities in SESAR have made it possible to update the separation minima between successive aircraft on final approach, thereby increasing runway throughput and safety. Further refinement of separation minima between aircraft on final approach (Pair Wise Separation RECAT-2) and between departures is ongoing in SESAR 2020 Wave 1 solution PJ.02.01 with important results expected to become publicly available at the end of 2019. However, in en-route and TMA, the tactical separation minima are essential

The new separation scheme for en-route is expected to bring large benefits in terms of airspace capacity, in many cases literally allowing capacity to be doubled thanks to Reduced Vertical Separation Minima (RVSM) 2.0 which will make it possible to use of the intermediate flight levels (…,275, 285, 295, 305,…). Safety will also be increased, by reducing the instances of en-route wake encounters by prescribing new separation minima under certain atmospheric conditions and/or between certain specific aircraft pairs.