A6 Alliance Position: Single European Sky Digital Backbone

Single European Sky Digital Backbone

The A6 Alliance strongly believes that digital transformation is fundamental to delivering the Europe-wide systems and technology developments that support the move towards a Single European Sky (SES).

This requires the involvement and cooperation of partners across the industry.  To this end, the A6 Alliance and EUROCONTROL jointly launched the SES Digital Backbone (SDB) initiative, exploring how a shared data exchange infrastructure can be set up by the European ATM industry. 

Our White Paper, published in October 2018, aimed to start an inclusive industry-wide discussion among operational stakeholders on how best to achieve a SDB to deliver benefits including:

  • a common safe and cyber secure context for all data access infrastructure
  • more widespread sharing of information through a common trustworthy “backbone”
  • improved interoperability between stakeholders as design choices are made in a common environment

The White Paper proposed the establishment of an all-inclusive SES Shared Services Alliance (the “3SA”), to oversee the SDB and establish a collaborative and inclusive governance to ensure the SDB meets operational stakeholders’ needs.

The SDB would initially include NewPENS, Data-Link Services (DLS) and System Wide Information Management (SWIM).  Over time and where necessary, the scope could widen to include further shared IT capabilities required for the inclusive, safe and cyber secure end-to-end digitalisation of European ATM.

The SDB and its 3SA governance structure is a good example of an “Industry for Industry” initiative providing a stable and flexible mechanism for operational stakeholders to manage shared resources in an economically efficient manner and delivering joint operations. It encourages cooperation of all aviation partners without additional regulatory burden and creates the right incentive to drive the necessary change in European ATM.