Central Flow Management Unit operations room

Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology

ISSN: 0002-2667

Publication date: 25 January 2008



(2008), "Central Flow Management Unit operations room", Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology, Vol. 80 No. 1. https://doi.org/10.1108/aeat.2008.12780aab.018

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Central Flow Management Unit operations room

Central Flow Management Unit operations room

The new Operations Room for the EUROCONTROL Central Flow Management Unit (CFMU) was recently inaugurated at a ceremony in Brussels by Mr Victor M. Aguado, Director General of EUROCONTROL, Mr Jacques Barrot, Vice President of the EU Commission and Commissioner for Transport and Mr Fernando Palao, Secretary of State for Transport of Spain.

The CFMU first became operational in 1995 mainly allocating take-off slots to flights in the whole of Europe, and imposing restrictions when traffic exceeded safe limits. However, over recent years, it has evolved and today the CFMU has a key role to play in bringing about a genuine Single European Sky.

Working closely with its stakeholders, the CFMU is responsible for optimising the capacity available from air traffic control across Europe in order to balance the demand for flights from airlines. Where demand exceeds capacity, the CFMU reroutes flights or calculates ground delays in order to ensure that air traffic controllers never have more aircraft than they can safely handle, and to minimise airborne holdings. By dynamically monitoring and responding to changes in capacity, the CFMU has helped to ensure over ten years that about an additional 10,000 flights can be handled in European airspace each day. Without the CFMU, estimates suggest that delays would more than triple with a cost to airlines of e1.5 billion a year.

Owing to the availability of its Initial Flight Plan System, the CFMU provides a Europe-wide alerting service in case an aircraft or airline which has been banned for safety reasons tries to enter European airspace.

The CFMU also provides environmental benefits. Better capacity management and flight routeing have reduced fuel consumption by 300,000ton annually. This comes on top of the 310,000ton of fuel saved annually through Reduced Vertical Separation Minima and the 120,000ton of fuel saved every year thanks to the increased application of the Flexible Use of Airspace concept between civil and military users. In total some 2,300,000ton of CO2 emissions are thus avoided annually.

“The CFMU provides safety, capacity, security and environmental benefits while at the same time being a public service,” said Victor M. Aguado, Director General of EUROCONTROL. “Its central position and flexibility enables Europe to handle major planned and unplanned events while ensuring that our delays due to air traffic management remain low and safety remains high. With this extensive range of benefits, the CFMU is an operational cornerstone of the Single Sky in Europe.”