Emerging technologies for future skies: Virtualisation

Consider an environment where services are provided in a digital manner that decouples the location of the infrastructure from ATS service delivery; this situation corresponds, in technical terms, to a virtualisation of service provision.

Virtualisation from a technical perspective refers to a different use of resources, with new enablers such as data centres.

In air traffic management (ATM), virtualisation is addressing different operational objectives and use cases. It has a role in enhancing the resilience of operations, contingency for abnormal operations, remote operations for load sharing (scalability) and most importantly, enabling cross border delegation of air traffic services by providing “capacity on demand” supported by virtual centres.

Our detailed white paper looks at the wide impact of virtualisation on the ATM industry, and in particular:

  • Business Continuity: Overcome availability restrictions at one facility by other facilities taking over the affected airspace.
  • Load Balancing: Handle increasing air traffic load at one location by other controllers, independent from their location anywhere in the country.
  • Virtual Towers (aka Digital Towers): Control digitally the air traffic movements on and around an airport.
  • Reduced reliance on ‘brick and mortar’ facilities by increasing the digital footprint when replacing old facilities and minimising the addition of new facilities.

These operations lead, in turn, to a better balance of air traffic controller workload and more efficient use of the airspace. As a result, further increased safety, decreased delays and traffic congestion, as well as higher flexibility in handling air traffic can be expected.

Strategy and Integration