ENAV has put investment in technological innovation and a new generation of digital technology in pride of place in its strategic development plans, in line with the regulatory and developmental framework defined by the Single European Sky.

Research and technological innovation are among the main drivers of a country’s economic development. The capacity of an economic system to exploit new technologies and to adapt to services and scenarios undergoing rapid transformation is essential to ensure that people have the prospect of improved living standards.

Aviation is definitely a sector in which technology plays a key role, given the complexity of an aircraft, a radar sensor or an air traffic control system. We are living at a time when innovations are making profound changes to aeronautics, and flight management systems, drones, satellites and sub-orbital flights illustrate the breadth of the numerous initiatives under way. Finding solutions to these challenges requires new, effective, inexpensive, fast and flexible production processes. New technologies play a fundamental role in this journey towards the future, in which we will see new ways to set up and manage flights, electric engines, digitalised earth/air/earth communications, satellite technology for innovative navigation, communication and surveillance, cloud computing, remote and digitalised control towers, drones as important new aircraft operating in airspace and sub-orbital flights with spaceports and much more besides.

For these reasons and with the specific intention of providing air traffic users with an increasingly efficient set of services with safety standards that meet the needs and keep up with the pace of economic growth, ENAV has put investment in technological innovation and a new generation of digital technology in pride of place in its strategic development plans, in line with the regulatory and developmental framework defined by the Single European Sky.

These innovations as a whole will have a highly positive impact in terms of sustainability and making the best use of human capital, allowing ENAV to consolidate its position of leadership compared with the other European service providers, driving the technological evolution of air traffic management.

A significant amount of investment in technology is envisaged in the plan: roughly €650 million in the first five years.

At the same time, ENAV participates in the most important global research programmes, among which the European Commission’s SESAR programme is undoubtedly one of the most significant. The programme began with SESAR 1 (2009-2016) and was then extended to a second phase called SESAR 2020 (2017-2024).

As a result of its active participation in SESAR and its recognised experience in air traffic control, ENAV is able to drive change at international level nowadays and to orient its strategic objectives in line with the development of the future European ATM system.

Today ENAV is therefore a leading participant in the innovation of the current European ATM system, as it has been over the last few decades, working to realise and implement new generation technologies and operating procedures, in order to guarantee services to an increasing number of flights in an efficient and safe way, at the same time respecting the environment.

The main projects

The main projects include in particular:

  • Data Link, which enables ground/air/ground communications such as digital messaging without needing to use traditional verbal communications via radio. It has been implemented in all the control centres and will be enhanced over the next few years as traffic increases;
  • the Medium-Term Conflict Detection (MTCD) system which can help air traffic controllers detect potential traffic conflicts several minutes in advance, making it possible for them to re-plan flight trajectories with a reasonable margin and to make efficient
    choices;
  • the new 4-Flight system will be the operational platform of the future and will be implemented using a new approach for both development and maintenance;
  • the new E-NET 2 network with Multiprotocol Label Switching technology, which can make data transmission faster and more secure. This infrastructure is also preparatory to the implementation of remote control towers.