BULATSA’s SESAR deployment project brings benefits to European aviation
BULATSA’s SESAR deployment project brings benefits to European aviation

BULATSA’s SESAR deployment project brings benefits to European aviation


SESAR deployment modernization project 2015_217_AF4 being implemented by BULATSA aims at deploying a Traffic Complexity Assessment Tool (tCAT) in the Sofia Area Control Centre (ACC). Once air travel will increase again, this tool will help to manage complex air traffic situations in Bulgaria and bring substantial performance benefits to European aviation.

The tool uses Enhanced Tactical Flow Management System (ETFMS) flight data information combined with other prediction data in order to evaluate the complexity of the Air Traffic Management (ATM) operation. It supports the planning of Air Navigation Service Provider resources to manage air traffic in a more efficient and cost-effective manner while optimizing capacity.

This SESAR deployment modernization project covers in full the existing regulatory gap for SESAR Deployment Programme (SDP) Family 4.4.2 “Traffic Complexity Tools” in Bulgaria. Traffic Complexity Tools is the single SDP Family within Pilot Common Project (PCP) Sub-AF 4.2, related to “Automated Support for Traffic Complexity Assessment”, which remains in CP1 regulation under a different numbering “Sub-AF 4.3”, but with the same technical background.

BULATSA, in the frame of the CEF-funded projects coordinated by the SESAR Deployment Manager, is involved in 2 SESAR deployment projects as Project Leader and in another 5 as Project Contributor. Those, in total 7 ATM modernization projects are framed in the areas of Network Collaborative Management, Initial SWIM and initial Trajectory Information Sharing.

The project was initially scheduled to be completed in 2020, however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was delayed by a few months. The large majority of the technical progress has been achieved and the project is about to be finished in September 2021. More information on the project could be found under the link: https://www.sesardeploymentmanager.eu/projects/2015_217_af4


The project, once completed, will support the planning of Air Navigation Service Provider resources to manage air traffic in an efficient and cost-effective manner. It is expected that the project will bring the largest performance benefits in terms of capacity increase and reduction of delays in en-route airspace.

A Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) was made by SESAR Deployment Manager, supported by the expertise of Network Manager (EUROCONTROL), as part of a larger effort to assess the implementation of the requirements of Regulation (EC) №716/2014 (PCP Regulation). The analysis is based on the standard EUROCONTROL methodologies for delay analysis in EATMN and assessment of benefits and costs of ATM investments. The results of the CBA, after having factored in the effects of the COVID-19 crisis, indicate a forecast cumulative Net Present Value of about 22 million euros by 2030.

User Feedback

“One of the first things I appreciated in the system is the ease of inputting data and new configurations as well as the contemporary and intuitive HMI, providing a much better presentation of operational information. The possibility to be able to see forecast and real radar data on the same screen is a lot of help when selecting the best sector configuration.”

- Deyan Nikolov, FMP Coordinator

“The system functionalities, related to ATCO workload assessment, have given us new possibilities to assess forecast air traffic situation and assist the opening and closing of sectors. The module for automated opening scheme optimization has made the selection of configurations much easier. The automatic data refresh and the simplified exchange with NM save us the additional time and effort and strongly support the ATFM process.”

- Petar Papazov, Head of Sofia FMP

“Unlike the legacy system, which provided archive only for the last observed air situation, the new tCAT system supports a full archive of each intermediate state of the traffic forecast. This detailed archive allows us to have a much deeper insight of the operational decision-making process and issue better targeted safety recommendations.”

- Valo Samokovliyski, Safety Expert

BULATSA tCAT operator 1