Free Route Airspace (FRA)
DANUBE FAB stakeholders implemented phase 1 of the DANUBE FAB FRA project (i.e. FRA at national level at night) in November 2013 - six months ahead of schedule. This marked the successful implementation of the first phase of FRA within DANUBE FAB, with two further phases to follow, unlocking increased benefits for the airspace users.
Phase 1 FRA
The inception of FRA project in DANUBE FAB has started to fully open the airspace, providing virtually unrestricted flight planning freedom without a pre-defined set of Direct Routing (DCT) options. The initial FRA project set-up, combined with other network improvements, provides an unmatched performance in terms of flight trajectory efficiency.
DANUBE FAB conducted comprehensive Real Time Simulations at EUROCONTROL’s Experimental Centre in October and November 2015. The results of these studies formed the basis for the next two phases of the project: Night Free Route Airspace at FAB level up to full FRA to be implemented on a phased approach until 2019.
However, major airspace changes in 2015, implemented by the DANUBE FAB partners to improve traffic flows, have necessitated a re-evaluation of the timescales and the geographical scope for Phase 2 of the project. Following a trilateral FRA implementation meeting between BULATSA, ROMATSA and HungaroControl, the South East Europe Night Free Route Airspace within Bulgaria, Hungary, and Romania (SEEN FRA) project was initiated, with the support of the Network Manager.
The recently initiated cross border Night FRA project between Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria was implemented on 30 March 2017, bridging therefore the airspace between FAB CE and DANUBE FAB. This project allows to Airspace Users the complete freedom to plan their routes throughout the combined airspace of the three States at night.
Phase 2 FRA (SEEN FRA)
The last step of FRA implementation in the DANUBE FAB airspace, financially supported by the European Commission through its TEN-T financing, was to gradually deploy a 24-hour cross-border FRA by 2019.
FRA implementation in the DANUBE FAB airspace with a 24-hour cross-border FRA (SEE FRA - South-East Free Route Airspace) was completed on the 7th November 2019. This concept builds on the previous night FRA implementation in the airspaces of Budapest, București and Sofia CTAs (SEEN FRA).
Following coordination, it was agreed SEEN FRA operations in Slovakian airspace to be expanded by four hours, as from 27 February 2020. The Network Manager will further approach Slovakia to include Bratislava CTA as an extension of SEE FRA by the end of 2020. Phase 3 FRA (H24)