Indra wins 173 million euros framework contract to digitalise the management of the European air navigation network
Europe’s leading air navigation body, EUROCONTROL, has selected Indra, one of the leading global technology and consulting companies, for the digital transformation of the operational systems of the EUROCONTROL Network Manager. EUROCONTROL, in its capacity as the Network Manager, designated by the European Commission, cooperates closely with air navigation service providers (ANSPS), airports, airlines and the military across 43 states.
Indra has competed with the European leading technology companies to become responsible for the digitalisation of the operating systems that manage the European aviation network. The contract won by Indra is a framework agreement with a maximum amount of 173 million euros, the largest contract tendered by EUROCONTROL in its history
Indra’s digitalisation of EUROCONTROL’s operational systems will facilitate a more accurate flight operation planning, which will increase punctuality and security, enhance the ability to manage more air traffic in Europe and increase the sustainability of air traffic.
Ignacio Mataix, Chief Executive Officer of Indra, said: “The combination of Indra’s dimensions with our worldwide leadership and experience in the development of the most cutting-edge Air Traffic systems, together with our unique ability to create a multidisciplinary team of specialists that respond to all aspects of the project, has played a key role in placing Indra in a unique position to meet this challenge.
“Having been selected as the company responsible for digitalizing the European air traffic network, a critical project for the future of air transport throughout the continent, is the culmination of Indra’s growth process in the air traffic sector over the last 25 years, in which it has enjoyed the support of the Spanish Administration and international institutions, and which has resulted in the company being a world leader in Air Traffic Systems, thanks to a complete portfolio of technological systems that allows it to have numerous global references and to be a major player in SESAR and in the Single European Sky with the iTEC system.”
Eamonn Brennan, EUROCONTROL Director General, added: “iNM is a digital transformation programme that will further optimise the way EUROCONTROL supports aviation, enabling us to continue to provide innovative, customer-focused solutions to our stakeholders. This is the largest single capital investment programme in EUROCONTROL’s history, and I am delighted that in Indra we have found a world-leading technology company to join our existing technology partners to realize our ambition of being the digital leader in aviation.”
Indra will develop cutting-edge digital solutions that will boost the air traffic flight and flow management services that EUROCONTROL provides and increase the level of collaboration and automation of the Network Manager’s operations and airlines, airports and control centers through innovative technologies, such as virtualisation, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, data analytics, or machine learning, among others, all of them in a cyber-secure ecosystem.
To this end, Indra will integrate the capabilities of its entire group in the EUROCONTROL digitalisation project. Teams of Air Traffic specialists, both in Spain and in Germany (through its subsidiary Avitech), will intervene in a coordinated manner. Minsait, the group’s leading company in digital transformation and information technologies, will play a central role in the project, together with professionals from its subsidiaries Paradigma, a leading digital transformation consultancy offering ‘digital natives’, and ALG, a consultancy specializing in aviation, transport, infrastructure and logistics.
The future iNM integrated management system
Following the network digitalisation carried out by Indra, the future integrated Network Management (iNM) of EUROCONTROL will calculate much more accurately the slots available at each airport, i.e. the ‘window of time’ allocated to each aircraft so that it can take off with the assurance that, on arrival at its destination, it will be able to land with minimal or no delay. This will optimise every flight and avoid unnecessary CO2 emissions, therefore saving costs.
The complete digitalization of the management of the data that make up the aeronautical information of the continent will entail that all the information on the structure, sectors into which the airspace is divided, airways, assets available for management, surveillance systems, military areas closed to traffic at any given moment, etc., will be updated in an automated and agile way. The accuracy of these data will help improve air traffic flows and coordination between the various stakeholders.
EUROCONTROL will also have the most advanced tools to check the flight plans of each aircraft that airlines submit for prior approval. The professionals of this organization strategically plan each operation weeks and months in advance and review and polish it as the flight date approaches, in successive pre-tactical and tactical phases. The network manager will raise the accuracy threshold of this planning, providing it with greater processing capacity, speed and intelligence. This will help aircraft to follow more precise and efficient routes.
The integrated network management (iNM) system will also be a central element in building the European Digital Sky, the collaborative ecosystem that will make the EU the world’s most efficient place to fly in the world. This system will play a critical role in coordinating a network of 68 major air traffic control centers and more than 500 European airports, which serves more than 6,600 airlines and other European airspace users each year; until the pandemic hit, it supervised an average of 30,000 flights a day, 11 million a year.
Consolidation of world leadership in Air Traffic Management
Indra is one of the world’s biggest suppliers of air traffic management systems. It has implemented its technology in 160 countries and has one of the most complete air traffic solutions offers, based on in-house technology and capable of covering the management of a flight in a comprehensive manner in all its phases. The company has maintained a close collaborative relationship with the Spanish air navigation service provider, ENAIRE, for more than forty years. It has also become the technological supplier of reference for some of the main European suppliers, including NATS (UK), DFS (Germany), LVNL (Netherlands), PANSA (Poland), Oro Navigacija (Lithuania) and AVINOR (Norway). With these six navigation service providers, as well as with ENAIRE, it has forged the iTEC Alliance, which is decisive in promoting the digitalization of the European Sky and facilitating a smoother and more efficient management of air traffic.
Indra is also one of the most important partners in the SESAR JU, the consortium that brings together the entire European aviation industry to promote innovation in Air Traffic and the construction of a single digitalized sky that allows flying in an intelligent and environmentally friendly way. Indra is also a close collaborator of EUROCONTROL and all the key organizations in the sector, such as ICAO, EASA, Ministries of Transport of the countries in which it operates and the European Commission.
Beyond its strong position in Europe, Indra has become the undisputed leader in air traffic systems in Latin America, having contributed decisively to the modernization of the skies in this region. It is also leading the technological updating of control centers and towers, as well as the deployment of advanced surveillance sensors and radars, throughout North Africa and the Maghreb, the Arabian Peninsula, India and China. With the support of its offices in China and Australia, Indra has also become one of the main competitors in the Air Traffic market throughout Asia and the Pacific.
Indra’s success in the Air Traffic industry is based on innovation and constant development of in-house technologies to meet the needs of its customers. The company has always been ahead in the development of the most advanced technologies: 4D air traffic management systems, 3D surveillance radars, GBAS systems or remote control towers. Today it is working on system digitalization and the application of new virtualization, cloud computing, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity technologies in this sector. It is also a pioneer in the development of the UTM systems which will revolutionize Urban Air Mobility, and has launched with ENAIRE Startical, a company which will put into orbit a constellation of more than 200 satellites which, for the first time in history, will offer navigation service providers global surveillance and communications capabilities from space.