European funding instrument supports modernisation of air navigation services infrastructure in Germany

DFS to receive funding from the Connecting Europe Facility

Two large-scale projects of DFS, the German air navigation service provider, to modernise the navigation infrastructure in German airspace have received major funding from the European Union. The first project will see DFS greatly expand its Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B) technology for determining aircraft position data. The second project involves the company introducing performance-based navigation (PBN), which is increasingly based on satellite navigation, at around sixty German airports and aerodromes. The two projects will be supported until the end of 2027 with funding totalling €9.6 million.

Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast
The ADS-B tracking and surveillance technology will completely cover lower and upper airspace in the future. This high-precision technology ensures even greater accuracy in flight guidance. In some cases, it will be possible to dispense with some of the conventional radar facilities. As ADS-B sensor systems are significantly smaller and much cheaper to deploy and maintain than radar antennas, the shift will enable greater efficiency and considerable cost savings in the long term. The project is designed to be compatible with the pan-European satellite navigation infrastructure envisaged by the European ATM Master Plan, which includes ADS-B, a 'multilink' network infrastructure and the GNSS global satellite navigation system.

Performance-Based Navigation
Performance-based navigation (PBN) is being used to harmonise Europe-wide standards in flight guidance. In Germany, more than 2,500 procedures will be adapted by 2030 and the ground infrastructure required for DME/DME multilateration will be expanded for reasons of redundancy. This will allow more airspace capacity to be generated. In addition, flight procedures, especially in the vicinity of airports, can potentially be planned and flown more precisely than before. This means that population clusters can be better taken into account and flown around more precisely. PBN has already been implemented at some airports, for example in Hamburg.

The project also involves setting up a minimum operational network in German airspace. This network will ensure that aircraft can navigate in the event of the failure of a satellite navigation system. Legacy infrastructure is being modernised, redefined and expanded. As a result, DFS is also enhancing the compatibility of the operational requirements of air navigation services facilities, on the one hand, and the drive to expand the number of wind turbine sites, on the other.

The two projects enable DFS to fulfil the requirements of Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 1207/2011 (known as the SPI Regulation for surveillance performance and interoperability) and Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 2018/1048 (PBN Implementation Regulation).

Media contact: 
Nanda Geelvink
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DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH, the German air navigation service provider, is a State-owned company under private law with 5,700 employees as at 31 December 2023. DFS ensures the safe and punctual flow of air traffic over Germany. Around 2,200 air traffic controllers guide more than three million flights through German airspace in peak years, up to 10,000 every day. The company operates control centres in Bremen, Karlsruhe, Langen and Munich as well as control towers at the 15 designated international airports in Germany. The subsidiary, DFS Aviation Services GmbH, markets and sells products and services related to air navigation services, and provides air traffic control at nine regional airports in Germany and at Edinburgh Airport in the United Kingdom. DFS is working on the integration of drones into air traffic and has set up a joint venture, Droniq GmbH, with Deutsche Telekom. Other subsidiaries include R. Eisenschmidt GmbH, which markets publications and products for general aviation, and Kaufbeuren ATM Training GmbH (KAT), which provides training for military air traffic services personnel. The joint venture FCS Flight Calibration Services GmbH offers flight inspection services.