Advanced operating procedures between civil controllers at EUROCONTROLís Maastricht Upper Area Control Centre (MUAC) and co-located DFS (Deutsche Flugsicherung) Maastricht controllers (LIPPE Radar) who handle the operation of State aircraft (operational air traffic) over north-west Germany have been put in place to facilitate the further deployment of free route airspace.
With the extended availability of free routes during military activity core time, a major overhaul of civil and military operating principles became necessary. Amongst other things, this means that direct routings for military airspace users are now available. The new procedures safeguard the efficient sharing of the airspace between the various types of users and also take into account the dynamic flight planning of civil airspace users.
This new concept allows increased use of direct routes by civil operators and at the same time reduces the distance flown by State aircraft. Both military and civil users therefore enjoy benefits, namely greater safety, increased flight efficiency and enhanced military mission effectiveness.
This new concept may in future be extended to include the rest of the MUAC area of responsibility, which covers the upper airspace of Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and north-west Germany.
Since March 2011, free-route airspace has been a flagship activity, delivering substantial benefits to air navigation service providers and airspace users in terms of reduced fuel burn, flight/engine-run time, gas emissions and costs. It is currently operational in the areas of responsibility of MUAC and the DFS Karlsruhe Upper Area Control Centre and is a cornerstone of the FABEC airspace strategy.