Free route airspace permits users to freely plan a route between defined entry and exit waypoints, with the possibility of routing via intermediate points. Flights flying in a free route area remain subject to air traffic control (ATC) for separation provision. This research evaluates an extreme future scenario of free route implementation across Europe. We consider the complete upper airspace of the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC) area as a unique airspace block configured with free route. The paper is centered in investigating the benefits for the airspace users, and in the study of possible increments of complexity of such configuration. In this research, fast time simulations are carrying out to discover how much flight time, fuel and distance aircraft can save with this free route configuration. In the other side, the paper explains the evolution of conflicts derived from potential separation losses between aircraft in this new environment. Separation losses in free route can emerge at any point of the airspace, which can require greater effort for solving them in comparison with fixed airways configuration, where conflicts are usually found in well-known airways intersections. The airspace configurations modelled in this study are the fixed airways structure, named as Current, and the future scenario, named as EUROFRA, where new navigation points are added. This research studies the advantages and difficulties that a large scale application of the free route concept can bring to the European airspace.

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Published on 01/01/2018

Volume 2018, 2018
DOI: 10.1109/dasc.2018.8569543
Licence: CC BY-NC-SA license

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