On 8 November 2022, SESAR partner, NATS, organised an open day to demonstrate their recent research results on integrated runway throughput and terminal efficiency - departure operations. The research activities were carried out within the context of the Integrated TMA, Airport and Runway Operations project( PJ.37-W3-ITARO), which is demonstrating on a large scale several airport solutions that have the potential to bring operational and environmental efficiencies.

Capacity-constrained airports rely on complex separation rules to ensure aircraft depart safely and avoid wake turbulence. The enhanced optimised spacing delivery for departures solution builds on the work done on optimised spacing delivery in SESAR wave 1 (to develop a more accurate and efficient delivery tool to support the implementation of complex separation rules in capacity constrained airport environments. The optimised separation delivery (OSD) tool in wave 1, was developed to support controllers in delivering Europe’s ICAO wake vortex re-categorisation (RECAT-EU) scheme and to refine pairwise wake separations for departures (PWS-D).  In wave 3 an extended OSD (eOSD) tool was developed to support controllers in applying more refined wake and route separations on departure, whilst improving the predictability and efficiency of runway throughput leading to more consistent delivery into the terminal manoeuvring area (TMA).  

The demo event presented highlights from recent validations of the extended optimised separation delivery (eOSD) tool, which can support more granular, reduced standard instrument departure (SID) route separations, as well as introducing support for applying optimised route flow restrictions. 

The open day was an opportunity for NATS to share initial results from a successful real-time simulation (RTS) validation in September 2022, which simulated the London Heathrow Tower environment with NATS controllers handling outbound departure traffic, utilising eOSD. Representatives across Europe and in UK who joined included NLR, Heathrow Airport, Indra, Eurocontrol, DSNA, Enaire, DFS, SESAR 3 JU programme team as well as many other NATS colleagues within the company.

The NATS team are now analysing the data from the validation exercise, and drafting a set of recommendations and requirements for future iterations of the solution as part of ITARO’s final reporting before the project closure at the end of June 2023.

The recent event and RTS is part of the work that NATS is undertaking in SESAR 2020 project PJ.37-W3-ITARO, solution track PJ.37-W3-01B.






This project has received funding from the SESAR Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101017622


RBS LHR Tower setup