EASN Thematic Structure

A Working Group consisting of NLR, QinetiQ and ONERA constructed the ASTERA taxonomy for aeronautical R&T. This is a hierarchical taxonomy that builds upon existing European structuring efforts, such as the GARTEUR taxonomy and EUROCONTROL's ARDEP taxonomy.

The ASTERA taxonomy has been defined, reviewed and agreed upon by a considerable group of experts from different fields within the European aeronautics community. This has given the taxonomy a strong foundation. Therefore EASN uses and if necessary modifies this taxonomy in order to approach a classification of university activities in the field of aeronautics.

Air Traffic Management


Overall ATM

Contains all sub-domains relating to system-wide and gate-to-gate issues.

1. Concepts and Scenarios: Operational concept, Operational philosophy, Mission, Objective, Context scenario, Operational objective, User requirement.Comments: concept options and evaluations; concept definition; operational concepts (ATFM, ASM, ATC); standard scenarios; institutional issues; ATM Objectives, User requirements; definition of operational contexts.
2. ATM Architecture and Overall System Engineering: System-wide issues, system engineering, transition strategy, transition planning, implementation planning, implementation roadmap, functional architecture, logical architecture, physical architecture, infrastructure, operational requirements.Comments: Overall ATM system architecture including the ground, airborne and satellite functions and system elements, system standards, system engineering, specifications, operational requirements, configuration management, implementation planning issues, transition design issues, system safety. Addresses system-wide issues, including transition.
3. Information Management in Operational ATM: Information Requirements, Information Architecture, Communication requirements for controllers and pilots, Data Warehousing, Information Sharing, Information Resource, Information Pool. Acquisition, storage, processing, distribution of information. System-wide information. Information Quality, SWIM, System-Wide Information Management, security-confidentiality-ownership of the data, European AIS Database.Comments: system-wide studies of information needs and information systems, including information requirements, usage, sharing, acquisition, processing, storage, dissemination, deletion. Includes information sharing, particularly in the CDM context, also encompassing information exchange and sharing with external stakeholders in ATM. Information quality issues are covered. Includes information requirements for controllers and pilots (e.g. flight plan and surveillance data, air derived data, met data, airspace structure data, ASM data); communications requirements for controllers and pilots.
4. Radio Frequency Studies: Frequency Allocation, Frequency Coverage, Interference, Modulation Class, Spectrum Utilisation, Propagation, ITU.Comments: studies of the allocation and usage of radio frequencies. Covers the entire useful RF spectrum, allocation to different services, geographical allocation, geographical coverage, changes of use, current and future usage, interference problems etc. ITU issues. Propagation studies, modulation techniques, spectrum utilisation efficiency, path reliability and related studies. RF Licensing and charges issues.
5. Capacity, Safety and Economic Appraisal Studies: Performance indicators, Cost-benefit analysis, CBA, System capacity, Service capacity, Airspace capacity, Capacity utilisation, Safety, Internal efficiency, System effectiveness, Service Levels, QoS, Delays, TLS, Resilience, Security, Charges, Simulations, Business Case, Basic traffic forecast.Comments: identification of capacity, safety and efficiency measures, cost-benefit analyses, performance indicators. Includes studies of capacity and delay, ATM efficiency, safety, resilience, security. Includes application of fast-time and real-time simulations to assess capacity, safety etc., also cost-benefit assessments in the preparation of business cases.


Airspace Management

Contains all sub-domains relating to the structure and organisation of the airspace and relevant procedures for flight and traffic control.

1. Airspace Organisation and Procedures: Airspace Management, ASM, Airspace Design, Airspace Organisation, Airspace Structure, Routes, Flexible Use of Airspace, FUA, Airspace Regimes, ASM Procedures, ATC Procedures.Comments: working rules, methods, routes network; airspace structures; airspace management; civil/military co-operation; ASM procedures, procedures for use of the airspace and for air traffic control.
2. Separation Minima: Separation Minima, Separation Standards, Procedural Control, Radar Minima, Radar Separations, ADS Separations, HMU, Height Monitoring, Collision Risk.Comments: Separation standards and minima for procedural environment and for different surveillance environments (SSR, ADS, multi radar coverage), also free flight, height monitoring.


Flow and Capacity Management

Contains all sub-domains concerned with ATFM, Demand Management and Capacity Management topics.

1. Air Traffic Flow Management: Air Traffic Flow Management, ATFM, CFMU, Initial Flight Plan Processing, IFPS, Demand-Capacity Balancing, DCB, Demand Management, Slot Allocation, Capacity Prediction, Demand Forecasting, Traffic Load Prediction, FMP.Comments: Flow Management, Capacity Management and Demand Management concepts, working rules, information requirements, co-ordination requirements, data processing, operational data bases.



Contains all sub-domains concerned with validation methods and activities. Contains all sub-domains concerned with validation methods and activities. Links with 'Validation' cluster in area 'Integrated Design and Validation'.

1. Methodology: Validation method, validation methodology, validation tools, certification methods.Comments: validation methodology; validation models and tools. Includes studies of certification issues for new technologies and systems.
2. Experimentation: Validation experiments, Trials, Pre-operational trials, Air-ground trialsComments: validation experiments, trials, pre-operational trials, air-ground trials.S


Communications Technology

Contains all sub-domains relating to communications technology and systems.

1. ATN & Communication Architecture: Aeronautical Communications Network, ATN, Network Architecture, Communications Architecture, ISO OSI Communications, Network Management.Comments: overall design, interfaces, system standards, specifications, network management, validation and safety of subsystems.
2. Satellite Communication Sub-network: Satellite Communications, Satellite Datalink, Satellite sub-network, Satellite Communications Security, Satellite Communications Integrity.Comments: overall design, interfaces, system standards, specifications, validation and safety of subsystems. 3. VHF Data Link and Voice Sub-network: VHF Datalink, VDL, VHF Voice, 8.33 kHz, VHF Digitised Voice Communications, VHF communications integrity, VHF Sub-network, VHF communications security, VHF Frequencies, VDL Mode 1, VDL Mode 2, VDL Mode 3, VDL Mode 4, STDMA.Comments: VHF data link and voice sub-networks and technologies for all modes of VHF communications. Includes overall design, interfaces, specifications, validation and safety of subsystems. 4. Mode-S Datalink Sub-network: Mode-S Datalink, Mode-S Sub-network, Mode-S SARPS, Mode-S Communications Integrity, Air-Air datalink, Broadcast Datalink.Comments: overall design, interfaces, system standards, specifications, validation and safety of subsystems. Includes Mode-S technology for air-air (ACAS) datalink and broadcast (ADS-B). 5. Ground Network: Ground Networks, Ground Sub-networks, Network Management, Communications Routers, WANs, Gateways, Internet, ARTAS, Voice networks, AHMS.Comments: overall design, WAN interfaces, system standards, specifications, validation and safety of subsystems. Includes ground communications networks for: voice, data and radar data distribution, (e.g. ARTAS), and ATN ground sub-networks and ATN internet/backbone.


Navigation Systems

Contains all sub-domains relating to navigation techniques and systems.

1. Satellite Navigation Systems: GPS, GPS Integrity, Differential GPS, GNSS, GLONASS, GNSS-2, WGS 84, Geodetic References, GNSS Augmentation, GPS Augmentation systems, Pseudolites, EGNOS, GPS Overlay.Comments: navigation data base and grid co-ordinate systems, specifications, interfaces, validation and safety of subsystems, augmentation and overlay systems.
2. Operational Navigation System: RVSM, PRNAV, RHSM, RNP, Navigation System, Altimetry, terrestrial nav-aids, LORAN, DME, beacons, VOR, NDB.Comments: all means necessary for aircraft to determine its own position, height and other dynamic characteristics; guidance of the aircraft; validation and safety of subsystems. Includes Reduced Vertical and Horizontal Separation, Precision RNAV, RNP Standards, multi-mode integrated navigation systems. Include altimetry techniques; terrestrial navigation aids.


Surveillance Systems

Contains all sub-domains concerned with surveillance technology and systems.

1. Surveillance Analysis & Calibration Tools: Radar measurement, Radar calibration, Surveillance accuracy, Data fusion accuracy, Surveillance coverage, Height measurement, HMU, ADS accuracy, Surveillance integrity.Comments: development of facilities and methods for the analysis and evaluation of surveillance systems and their processing systems. Include height measurement where it is a surveillance measurement/calibration issue.
2. Radar Surveillance and other independent sensors: Primary Radar, Secondary Surveillance Radar, Radar Antennas, E-Scan, Millimetre Wave Radar, Tracking Radars, Doppler Radars, Electronically Steered Radars, Wind Shear Detection (by radar), Wake Vortex Detection (by radar), Weather Radar, Mode-S Enhanced Surveillance, Specific sensors for SMGCS : microphones, laser, optical, proximity sensors etc?Comments: studies of radar-based surveillance systems. Primary and secondary ground-based radars, antennas, sensors, technologies. Includes specialised radars for wind-shear and wake vortex detection applications, tracking radars, Mode-S for enhanced surveillance.
3. ADS & Data Link Surveillance: ADS SARPS, Automatic Dependent Surveillance, ADS, ADS-Broadcast, ADS-B, Aircraft derived data.Comments: standards, specifications, validation and safety of subsystems, means to derive position, identity and state vector information. Include ADS-B and ADS applications using any datalink technology.
4. Surveillance Data Processing: RDP, Radar Data Processing, Data fusion, ARTAS application.Comments: validation methods, prototyping, sources of surveillance data, standards and procedures.


ATM automated support

Contains all sub-domains relating to ATC Planning, Controller Tools and Automation. Links with domain 'Decision Support Systems'.

1. ATC Automation & Controlling Tools : ATC automation, controller tools, simulations with tools, level of automation, MTCD, planning tools, sequencing and metering tools, conflict resolution tools, conflict probe, conformance monitoring tools, SMGC tools, STCA, MSAW. Comments: ground based data processing to support automation for the controller, simulations with tools, level of automation. Include STCA, MSAW, MTCD, Planning support tools, Conflict resolution tools, Conformance monitoring tools, sequencing and metering tools.
2. Controller Work Station and Situation Display: Controller workstation, Display systems, Controller preferences, Electronic Strips.Comments: work station architecture (software and hardware), display systems, HMI design.
3. Flight Data Processing Systems: FDPS, Flight Data Processing, Flight Plans, Flight Progress Monitoring, Aircraft Derived Data.Comments: Flight data processing systems: flight data database requirements and design, exploitation of aircraft-derived data.
4. Traffic Management and Trajectory Planning: Traffic Management, Trajectory Planning, Multi-sector Planning, Planning Horizon, Trajectory Planning Systems, Ground movement planning, Slot swapping / shifting, Airspace Allocation, Conflict Free Trajectory Clearances, Traffic Management - ATFM interworking, Traffic Management-Sector Interworking. Advanced Planning, Extended Planning, Start up and pushback planning, Trajectory Synchronisation, Traffic Sequencing, Traffic Metering, Queues, Holds, Buffers, Choke Points, AMAN (Arrival manager), DMAN (Departure Manager).Comments: Traffic Management and Trajectory Planning processes and systems. Multi-sector planning. Extension of the trajectory planning horizon. 3D and 4D Planning of conflict-free trajectories and clearances/airspace allocations. Traffic sequencing, metering and trajectory synchronisation. Advanced trajectory-based planning systems. Processes that sit between ATFM and Tactical Control. Interfaces and interworking between TMTP processes and systems and those associated with ATFM and CFMU also those associated with tactical sector control. Includes co-ordination between choke points, management of queues and buffers.
5. Air Ground Integration Studies: Air-ground integration, Air-ground interworking, Pilot-Controller Co-operation, Controller-Pilot Data Link Communications, CPDLC, AOC, AAC, AIS, FIS, ASAS (not procedures).Comments: Air/Ground Integrated studies focusing on the application and use of datalinks. Includes ATS and (where they utilise the same datalink) the impact of AOC applications. The main focus is on air-ground interworking, pilot-controller co-operation, integration of the aircraft into the ATM system.
6. Monitoring & Support Systems including Reliability & Integrity Studies: ATM system monitoring, system reliability, system resilience, incident monitoring, separation infringement, recording and replay.


Airport Traffic Management

Contains all sub-domains relating to airport ATC, traffic management and ATM-related airport systems and operations.

1. Airport Capacity and Runway Utilisation: Airport Capacity, Runway Capacity, Runway Utilisation, Taxiway Capacity, Airport Throughput, Airport Capacity Optimisation, Mixed-mode Operations, Parallel Runway Operations, Runway incursion, Wildlife hazards, Birds, Low Visibility. Comments: Airport capacity and runway utilisation related R&D, including capacity studies, airport capacity modelling and measurement, runway incursion monitoring, management of wildlife hazards, airport capacity in low visibility conditions.
2. Approach Aids and Procedures: ILS, Microwave Landing Systems, MLS, Controlled Flight Into Terrain, CFIT, GPS Approaches, WADGPS, LADGPS, GNSS Approaches, Pseudolite, CAT 1, CAT 2, CAT 3a,b,c, Precision Approach, AWOP, Autoland, Enhanced Vision Systems, SIDs, STARs, low visibility approach and landing.Comments: Approach, Landing and Departure aids and procedures : safety and validation of subsystems, monitoring. Includes the application of GNSS and augmentation systems to approach and landing, also approach and landing and departure in low visibility conditions.
3. Airport ATC and Information Systems: Integrated Airport Information Systems, ATIS, Wireless airport communications system, Airport LAN, Gatelink.Comments: Application interface between Airports and Wide Area Networks (WANS) for gate-to-gate ATM. Information services provided by the airport, e.g. ATIS.
4. Surface Movement Guidance and Control: Taxiing, Manoeuvring Area, Taxiway, Pre-departure Clearance, Push-back, Ground Trajectory, Tower Control, Airport Surveillance, SMGC, A-SMCGS.
Comments: ground movement surveillance, Airport ATC systems. Covers issues of aircraft identification during taxiing. Low visibility issues for surface movements, separation of aircraft and ground mobiles and obstacles.


Airport Operations

Contains all sub-domains concerned with airports operators, their flight operations and their interactions with ATM, their processes to handle the traffic, passengers and baggage.

1. Airport Operations: Airport Operations Studies: studies of aspects of airport operations relevant to ATM, and improvements to Airport-ATM interworking, including interworking among, En-route/TMA ATC, Tower ATC, Ground Movement Control, Apron Management, Terminal Operations, hub operations, hub feeding.Comments: Airport Operations, Terminal Operations, ATC-Airport planning & co-ordination, Handling Agents, Apron Management, Stand Management, Terminal Operations.
2. Vertical Take-off and landing traffic handling.
3. Airport Architecture, design and new concepts: Airport organisation and design, Cluster of airports, holistic design, terminal organisation.
4. Airport Passenger and baggage handling Processes: Movement of passengers inside the building, role of the passenger, information of the passenger. Baggage handling processes.
5. Inter-modality: Interface with other modes of transport: train, hub feeder, road, etc?


Airline Operations

Contains all sub-domains concerned with airlines/aircraft operators, their flight operations and their interactions with ATM.

1. Airline Operations: Airline Operations, Despatch, Fleet Scheduling, Crew Roistering and Scheduling, Aircraft Operations, Timetables, Flight Planning Process, AAC, AOC, Flight Efficiency, Flight Economics, Flight Time, Flight Duration, Fuel Burn, CDM (airlines part), Collaborative Flight Planning, Flight Schedules, Block Time. Comments: Studies of the relevant ground operations and flight operations of commercial airlines and other aircraft operators, where relevant to ATM. Includes all forms of ATM-Airline interworking and collaborative decision-making as well as co-ordination of planning, operational policies, fleet scheduling, timetabling, route/service planning and flight planning processes, operational constraints, despatch, airline-aircraft (AOC) communications, airline commercial issues. In connection with flight operations, this sub-domain includes studies of flight economics and the impact of trajectory profiles and delays on fuel burn, flight time, flight efficiency etc.
2. Freight Operations.



Contains all sub-domains relating to meteorological phenomena and detection and forecasting systems.

1. Meteorological Modelling: Climatic Models, Weather Models, Weather Forecasting, Weather Measurement, Nowcasting, Meteorological data fusion.Comments: forecasting and nowcasting. Includes the aircraft as a flying meteorological station. Includes the compilation, distribution and exploitation of meteorological information from the application perspective.
2. Wake-vortex Tracking and Approach Control : Wake Vortex, Vortex Measurement, Wake Vortex Categories.Comments: Wake vortex related studies, detection systems. Include wind vortices measurement and aircraft wake vortex categories.
3. Other Atmospheric Phenomena: Wind Shear, Wind Phenomena, Atmospheric Phenomena, Mountain Wave Events, Precipitation, Turbulence, CAT.Comments: Wind, Turbulence, Precipitation and other atmospheric phenomena, including wind shear, wind measurement and prediction, wind modelling, volcanic ash and mountain wave events forecasting.


R&D Management and Co-ordination

Contains all sub-domains concerned with the management of R&D resources.

1. R&D Management and Co-ordination: Overhead, Management, Administration, R&D Co-ordination, Working Panels, Steering groups, review Bodies.
Comments: includes overhead activities, also international working and liaison activities, meetings etc.


Maintenance specific_arealing

The cost of maintaining aircraft and other capital assets is significant. Options for conducting maintenance include retaining responsibility within the organisation, or contracting it out to a third-party provider. Innovative options for maintaining assets may be possible. Modelling and analysis of the maintenance system can bring insights that will optimise effectiveness while minimising costs.

1. Asset management modelling methodology development.
2. Aircraft maintenance modelling (exploring impact of changes in maintenance regime on aircraft availability, utilisation, engineering costs, and staff requirements).
3. Airport systems maintenance modelling (exploring impact of changes in maintenance regime on system availability, utilisation, engineering costs, and staff requirements).
4. Decision-support tool development.