Conscious of the challenges to be overcome in the management of an airspace where interactions and the diversification of users are increasing, skeyes is counting on innovation in its services as well as the cooperation it establishes with its partners in order to ensure ever greater safety and efficiency in an increasingly complex environment.
35.5 million passengers travelled safely in airspace under the responsibility of skeyes in 2019
+ 1.5 million tons of cargo passed through Belgian airports and arrived safely
1. In the future, a single system
for skeyes, Belgian Defence and EUROCONTROL MUAC
skeyes, the Belgian Armed Forces and EUROCONTROL’s Maastricht Upper Area Control Centre (MUAC) want to use the same air traffic management system from 2024. Thanks to an integrated air traffic management system (SAS3), the services provided to users of Belgian airspace will be more efficient and reliable, safer and less expensive. The three parties signed a letter of intent in 2019 to achieve this goal.
2. Recruitment of air traffic controllers
In spring 2019, skeyes held a recruitment exam for air traffic controllers. Following the selection tests, 19 candidate air traffic controllers started their training, which is provided by Entry Point North Belgium (EPNB), the joint venture created by skeyes and Entry Point North in 2018.
This partnership enables skeyes to continue to provide high-quality training on its own site to its staff, to recruit at full capacity and to ensure the continuity of its air navigation services.
3. The droneguide application for professionals
Launched in 2018, the droneguide app offers a means for recreational users to manage flights, and includes maps and locations with areas in which drone flights are permitted or prohibited.
In 2019, the droneguide app was expanded to offer services to drone operators as well as professional pilots. All flight management can now be done via this application: planning and submitting flight notifications, requesting and obtaining any necessary exemptions, and validation can also be carried out via the app. An invaluable tool that is a world first in the area, anticipating the increase in unmanned air traffic that is likely to occur in the near future.
4. Military air traffic controllers are welcomed to the skeyes site
Air traffic controllers from Belgian Defence have been officially based at the skeyes site since 2 December following a military ceremony that ended with a flyover of the site by four F-16s.
Today, 22 military air traffic controllers are housed at Steenokkerzeel, in the CANAC 2 control centre. The grouping together of civil and military air traffic control in a single control centre will allow for more efficient, safe and environmentally-friendly use of Belgian skies.
To be more precise, the airspace over Belgium is confined and complex due to the high volume of traffic, particularly civil aircraft, that passes through it. However, it also serves a strategic function for military missions and training. More than half of Belgian airspace is reserved for this strategic function.
In this connection, the consolidation of civil and military air traffic control will enable more dynamic use of the airspace. For example, civil aircraft will be able to use airspace reserved for the military once the military mission or training has ended. This will allow civil traffic to take more direct routes and so save fuel.
5. NewPens, a next generation communications network
On 1 July 2019, skeyes was the first air navigation service provider to exchange data with the European network manager EUROCONTROL via NewPens (New Pan-European Network Service).
NewPens is a highly-efficient and secure data and voice communications network for transmitting critical operational data between control centres, airports, airlines and military and weather centres.
6. ANA Lux CDO
skeyes manages air traffic in certain parts of Luxembourg’s airspace. On approach to Luxembourg airport, aircraft use CDOs or green landings, thereby consuming less fuel and generating less noise thanks to a continuous descent with minimal engine power rather than in stages.
skeyes and ANA Lux signed an agreement in June 2019 to provide a framework for and systematise the transmission of green landing data to Luxembourg. This will improve monitoring and facilitate the implementation of future initiatives to make Luxembourg airport ever more environmentally-friendly.