Over the past few years, HungaroControl has made impressive advances in creating solutions to improve flight safety, increase capacity, reduce airline costs and enhance environmental protection. Notable examples include the introduction of Hungarian Free Route Airspace (HUFRA), controller-pilot data link communications (CPDLC), a unique remote tower solution, and the provision of air traffic control (ATC) services in the upper airspace over Kosovo.
Besides forming partnerships with air navigation service providers (ANSPs), universities and technology providers, HungaroControl - as a member of Frequentis SESAR Partners consortium - will participate in industrial research, validation and demonstration activities for SESAR 2020.
The consortium of Atos, HungaroControl and Frequentis aims to enhance cross-industry innovation through integrating different stakeholders in the ATM value chain. As an ANSP and main user of these developments, HungaroControl can provide essential support to industry partners working on solutions thanks to its ATM expertise, real-life operating experience and simulation facilities.
In February 2015, HungaroControl was the first company in the EU to abolish the entire fixed-flight route network, enabling airplanes to use the airspace freely and without restriction. The significance of the new traffic management concept is that aircraft can take the shortest possible flight path between the entry and exit points in Hungary's airspace. According to estimates, this solution will potentially result in yearly savings of 1.5 million kilometres. As a result, airlines could save almost $3-million worth of fuel a year, which will lead to a reduction in CO2 emissions of more than 16 million kilograms.
In November 2015, HungaroControl introduced CPDLC, three years ahead of the EU deadline. The new feature enables data interchange between pilots and air traffic controllers in the form of text messages. It is expected to further improve flight safety, and increase the capacity of Hungarian airspace by optimising the use of radio frequencies.
Remote tower technology aims to enable ANSPs to control airport traffic from their own buildings with the help of a virtual surface. HungaroControl's concept has achieved considerable success on the international market. For example, the emergency control centre at Dubai International Airport is being implemented according to the proposals of a consortium of five companies, including HungaroControl. HungaroControl's concept is built on integrating an airport's existing ground surveillance system with a network of distributed cameras to enhance not only situational awareness, but also safety levels. The company aims to operate a full-time remote tower in Budapest as of 2018.
HungaroControl's Centre of Research, Development and Simulation (CRDS) plays an important role in the company's innovation efforts. Operating Central Europe's largest ATC simulation facility, CRDS not only supports HungaroControl, but also offers validation-based solutions, simulations, and training and consultancy to other ANSPs. Incorporating fasttime and real-time simulation, CRDS's validation methodology helps to maximise benefits in terms of capacity, efficiency and the environment, as well as minimise safety-related risks.
To facilitate continuous descent approaches, HungaroControl has developed the Green Approach, a new air traffic planning concept that helps air traffic controllers to schedule arriving traffic in a more effective way, thereby reducing fuel burn, CO2 emissions and the noise load on those living near airports. Green Approach allocates aircraft preparing to land at a specific airport to a 'number line' by taking into account their actual position and speed. This helps controllers to plan more effectively, and makes their workflow more predictable. Since its introduction, Green Approach has won accolades from the airline community and has attracted significant interest from other ANSPs.