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Network Apr 18, 2018

Better and safer data flows for aviation: EUROCONTROL selects BT for NewPENS

NewPENS, a new ultra-resilient network, will enhance the reliability and security of aviation data flows — with users only paying for the service levels they sign up for

Following a common procurement action, EUROCONTROL and forty-one industry partners, primarily air navigation service providers (ANSPs), today launched a new contract with  BT for the provision and management of a secure and highly resilient New Pan-European Network Service (NewPENS). The 10-year contract has an estimated total value of more than €50 million.

The new, ultra-resilient network will connect around 100 locations across 47 countries in the EUROCONTROL area and neighbouring countries. It can be used by all air traffic management (ATM) stakeholders to transfer business-critical data reliably, securely and safely in a cost-efficient way.

It will be built on BT’s IP network with mission-critical connections running on a dual core infrastructure, offering parallel connectivity that is physically and logically separated in order to provide the highest levels of availability and resilience.

NewPENS is the successor to PENS, which was launched in December 2009. It is a major upgrade – in service management as well as network architecture – and the backbone for cross-border data and voice communications for the Network Manager, ANSPs and other ATM stakeholders.

NewPENS’ features:

  • It is future-proof – ready to cope with future ATM and network technology developments;
  • It is open to a wider range of stakeholders — the military, ATM providers, airlines, airports, meteorological services as well as ANSPs;
  • It offers increased flexibility in supporting applications;
  • Its safety levels will be ATM-grade enabling it to support safety-critical applications;
  • Its sophisticated cybersecurity measures will protect users’ data;
  • Where needed, availability will be up to 99.999% — a decimal point higher than was the case for the current PENS;
  • Its service management framework will feature a Europe-wide Service Desk with extensive monitoring and reporting services;
  • It will offer different ‘tiers’ of service — from entry-level to mid-level, through to demanding high-end. Users will only be invoiced for the services they select.
  • Its governance has been updated to reflect experience. Strong strategic guidance, proper supervision and full support will be provided by different managerial levels in participating organisations. NewPENS has:

– a Top Management Board (TMB) to drive strategic change;

– a PENS Executive Board (PEB) for effective collaboration with user communities;

– an Air Traffic Service Board (ATSB) with network managers from ANSPs and EUROCONTROL for tactical guidance and service management.

NewPENS is an unparalleled common procurement contract in pan-European air traffic management,” noted Eamonn Brennan, Director General of EUROCONTROL and Vice-Chairman New PENS Top Management Board. “With air traffic on the rise, NewPENS will provide solid support to European aviation, securing cross-border network connections and underpinning safety-critical applications,” he concluded.

“NewPENS will also support future ATM applications, particularly for the SWIM (System-Wide Information Management) architecture. It will be a key enabler for deploying services generated by the SESAR projects,” observed Maurice Georges, Chairman NewPENS TMB and Director of the French air navigation service provider, DSNA. “Its technical service catalogue will evolve with technology and business requirements. Its newly-designed architecture will ensure an increased level of end-to-end control and authority.

Next steps

The Network Manager will begin the transition to NewPENS as soon as possible after the signature of the contract. BT will set up its organisation, service management framework, service desk, processes, transition model and network between April and September 2018.

The ±100 sites belonging to the 30+ current PENS users as well as EUROCONTROL will gradually be transferred in clusters to NewPENS between October 2018 and 30 November 2019, the date on which the current PENS contract will expire.

[1] SESAR (Single European Sky ATM Research) is the technological pillar of the Single European Sky programme of the European Union. SESAR aims to improve Air Traffic Management (ATM) performance by modernising and harmonising ATM systems through the definition, development, validation and deployment of innovative technological and operational ATM solutions. These innovative solutions constitute what is known as the SESAR concept of operations.

With air traffic expected to double in the years ahead, the need for secure and highly reliable communications has never been greater and of more importance. Many leading multinationals, such as members of the BT Radianz Cloud, the world’s largest secure networked financial markets community, already rely on BT to connect their critical global operations, people and data. The networking infrastructure we will put in place for the NewPENS community will ensure ultra-high levels of resilience and security for air traffic controllers to help them guide planes safely to their destinations

Bas Burger, CEO Global Services, BT