System or spider’s web? Towards a new system for Europe.
Radio or digital. Communications can be conducted in different ways. It looks like a spider’s web when you draw a diagram of it. Take, for instance, air traffic control at Schiphol Oost. It uses lots of different systems to communicate on planning. Some systems are old-fashioned, while others are modern. It just depends which system the other party uses. In 2025, Europe will switch to System Wide Information Management (SWIM). Are we ready for it?
Time for a study
Stichting KDC asked the Netherlands Aerospace Centre (NLR) to conduct a study into the opportunities open to the Netherlands when this SWIM network becomes available. What needs to be done in order for the Netherlands to make use of the European SWIM network? And who will benefit from this? Project leader Dennis Nieuwenhuisen: “We started off by conducting a literate study. Next we interviewed personnel who work in technology and strategy departments LVNL, KLM, Schiphol and the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI). Thanks to many years of cooperation, NLR also has acquired a great deal of knowledge on the SWIM topic in-house.”
More efficient exchange of information
“We charted all the communications between systems. On the basis of general actions we drew up a list of tangible actions. For example, air traffic control uses one system to discuss with Schiphol which gate an aircraft is going to. And it uses another system to coordinate planning with the KNMI in relation to the weather. Think of it in terms of the internet. It is almost impossible if you need a different browser for each website you visit. That’s why you can use a system such as Internet Explorer to access everything. This is what the aviation sector needs. Thanks to the SWIM network, everyone in the aviation sector will soon be able to communicate with one another.”
Ready to take off
For the Dutch system, SWIM could be a good solution for obtaining a better overview. And if the whole of Europe switches over, that will yield even more useful information. Nieuwenhuisen: “For instance, the Netherlands could obtain information from Poland on an aircraft that is heading to Amsterdam. We could obtain a better picture of the air traffic and potential delays. And we could inform passengers more quickly.” Nieuwenhuisen advises the aviation sector to start taking the new system into account now. “A number of systems will have to be replaced by 2025 anyway. When purchasing a new system it would be smart to investigate whether it is compatible with SWIM. Then the Netherlands will be ready for it when SWIM is there.”