Increasing Efficiency: Luxembourg’s Administration of air navigation’s innovative initiatives on horizontal and vertical flight management


In the ever-evolving landscape of air traffic management, Luxembourg Administration of air navigation (ANA) has been at the forefront of initiatives aimed at enhancing both horizontal and vertical flight efficiency. The focus on Continuous Descent Operations (CDO) and Continuous Climb Operations (CCO) during both low and high traffic periods highlights the commitment to optimising airspace utilisation and promoting environmentally friendly practices.

Enabling CDO/CCO during low traffic periods

ANA implemented a comprehensive network of CDO transitions to both runway ends in 2020. These transitions, starting from various altitudes and inbound directions, extend down to Instrument Landing System (ILS) or Required Navigation Performance (RNP) interceptions for final approach.

In 2023, Luxembourg’s Administration of air navigation introduced a new MIL-OFF period transition and took a significant step forward by introducing new CDO transitions specifically designed for low traffic periods. These transitions facilitate CDO catch-up from shortcut segments, contributing to a smoother and more efficient flow during periods of reduced air traffic.

A noteworthy addition to the arsenal of tools available to pilots is the introduction of a complete set of new ILS-z approaches to both runways. These approaches, starting from different Initial Approach Fix (IAF) points, serve as “direct-to” points, providing pilots with precise track miles to the IAF, equivalent to CDO. This innovation has successfully promoted the adoption of Performance-Based Navigation (PBN) procedures, reducing reliance on vectoring until the final ILS interception. The result is a more streamlined and predictable approach pattern.

Enabling CDO/CCO during high traffic periods

Recognizing the challenges posed by high traffic periods, Luxembourg’s Administration of air navigation has embarked on a comprehensive airspace reorganisation project in collaboration with French stakeholders. The initiative focuses on the southern airspace of Luxembourg, aiming to separate Required Navigation Performance (RNAV) SID & STAR’s from and to ELLX.

The primary goal of this reorganization is to mitigate the complexities associated with numerous crossings within airways during high traffic periods. By establishing dedicated routes for inbound and outbound traffic, Luxembourg’s Administration of air navigation aims to eliminate the need for frequent level-offs, enabling more consistent and efficient CDO and CCO procedures. This strategic approach is anticipated to benefit approximately 30% of Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) departures and arrivals.

Luxembourg’s Administration of air navigation initiatives on horizontal and vertical flight efficiency underscore a commitment to innovation and sustainability in air traffic management. By optimising procedures during both low and high traffic periods, the organization is contributing to a more resilient and eco-friendly aviation system. These advancements not only enhance the overall efficiency of air traffic operations but also set a precedent for future developments in airspace management.

ATM Europe