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Success for NATS, Snowflake and Harris in SESAR SWIM Master Class

26 November 2013

Out of 100 participants and 21 data providers from around the world NATS, Snowflake Software, and Harris Corporation have all earned ‘Best-In-Class’ awards in the EUROCONTROL sponsored SESAR SWIM Master Class 2013 for their joint entries. 

The NATS and Snowflake team achieved first place as overall Best-In-Class winners in the ATM Information Services Category for their “Arrival Sequence Service”, while the NATS, Snowflake and Harris entry, “Trans-Atlantic Weather Information Management” scooped second prize. 

Arrival Sequence Service 
The NATS led project saw a partnership with Snowflake – the 2012 SWIM Master Class winners – to prototype a tool used to reduce stack holding at London Heathrow. In 2009, delays caused by holding at Heathrow alone are estimated to have cost in the vicinity of £60m, with those aircraft held for an average of 7.6 minutes. 

NATS and Snowflake demonstrated through the implementation of a SWIM prototype that fuel savings of £33.5m could be made, as well a reduction in CO2 emissions of 32,000 tonnes and an increase in safety, by providing Heathrow Arrival Sequence and temporal information to adjacent control centres, in Maastricht, Reims, Brest, Shannon, Dublin and Prestwick. Operational decisions could then be made earlier, slowing aircraft en-route and therefore limiting the amount of time spent holding on arrival. 

The Snowflake team provided a SWIM compliant information loading, management and distribution platform via its GO Loader and GO Publisher software, installed in the NATS Test and Development infrastructure, linked to the Barco Arrival Management System. 

Kevin Loy, NATS Information Strategy Manager, said: “This is a demonstration of how SESAR concepts such as SWIM can provide early and significant benefits to the airspace user community."  

"The SWIM Master Class has provided us with an opportunity to innovate with operational SWIM Web Services and demonstrate that, through the implementation of SWIM, the industry can make substantial economic and environmental savings in the short term.” comments Alexis Brooker, Principal Consultant at Snowflake. “We’re proud to be able to show an early exploitation of SWIM technology in the wider context of achieving the objectives of the Single European Sky.” 

Trans-Atlantic Weather Information Management 
The NATS, Snowflake and Harris team were able to demonstrate the benefits gained from sharing weather information across international boundaries. The team utilised both European SESAR and FAA NextGen SWIM standards to provide end users with standardised and consolidated access to a single source of weather information. 

As part of the collaborative project the Snowflake team delivered an ICAO WXXM Release Candidate 2 Web Feature Service 2.0 via its GO Publisher software to serve weather data to FAA end users connected to the FAA SWIM infrastructure. 

“The ability to easily exchange aeronautical information across international borders is fundamental to standardised aeronautical information management. To be able to demonstrate that SWIM is working on a trans-Atlantic scale, that the SESAR and NextGen programmes are harmonised through the use of data exchange standards, is exciting to be a part of.” comments Alexis Brooker, Principal Consultant at Snowflake. 

“We believe that the concepts shown in our team’s submission are critical to truly enable international harmonisation across oceanic domains” states David Almeida, Director, Civil Programs, Harris Government Communications Systems. “Embracing SWIM and data standards harmonisation will begin to create the environment that is needed to fundamentally change ATM to support the future of air travel. We are very excited to have worked collaboratively with this incredible team to help shape the future of aviation!” 

State of the Art ATM Technology 
The SESAR SWIM Master Class has the objective to develop and demonstrate state-of-the-art ATM technology, while bringing together development teams from across Europe in both industry and academia. 

“To be recognised once again as Best-In-Class is a great achievement and something we’re incredibly proud of.” said Alex Brooker, Snowflake. 

Kevin Loy concluded: “To have had even one entry in the final would have been fantastic, so this result is beyond all our expectations and a testament to the huge amount of work that has gone on both within NATS and together with our excellent project partners.” 

“More widely, this initiative would not have been possible without the SESAR drive for open standards and enabled by the A6 community locally.” 

NATS will use this as a basis to further develop web services through its SPACE research and development facilities, as a proof of concept platform prior to operational implementation of new concepts. 

This year’s SWIM Master Class took place from June to November 2013 with best-in-class winners announced at the EUROCONTROL offices in Brussels. 

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