European ECHO project delivers ConOps for higher airspace ready for validation

The ECHO Concept of Operations (CONOPS) are now available on the ECHO website.

ECHO is a two-year project led by EUROCONTROL to deliver a comprehensive demand analysis and the concept of operations (ConOps) for higher airspace to allow safe, efficient and scalable operations. The project has been funded by the SESAR 3 Joint Undertaking.

The ConOps provides the basis to identify future infrastructure needs that would be required to support Higher Airspace Operations (HAO) and it will be developed for short, medium and long-term time frames. A key objective is that the ConOps should address operations of today’s existing vehicles as well as of vehicles and activities still to be developed.

A follow-on project, ECHO 2, is already under way as part of the Digital European Sky programme, and will build on the firm foundation laid by ECHO. “The principle of building traffic management according to demand is a key element that will need to be tested,” notes Hof. “We envisage limited services and infrastructure in areas of low demand, whereas in regions of medium- to high-density operations, users may require new traffic management services.” Regulatory coordination at the international level will also be needed for certain types of operations. Industrial associations are expected to play a key role in these discussions. “This project has helped Europe to develop a clear position on this issue,” remarks Hof. With the release of the final Conops, Europe now has a clear and robust concept that it can use both to promote European developments and to support global evolution through ICAO.

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