EUROCONTROL’s MUAC and DFS Maastricht controllers to facilitate the further deployment of free route airspace

Maastricht, the Netherlands, 10-6-2013 — / — Advanced operating procedures between civil controllers at EUROCONTROL’s 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.

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For further information, contact:

Mireille Roman, tel.: +31 43 366 1352

Kristina Kelek, tel.: +49 6103 707 4161


The Maastricht Upper Area Control Centre (MUAC), operated by EUROCONTROL on behalf of four States, provides control for the upper airspace (above 24,500 feet, i.e. approximately 7,500 metres) of Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and north-west Germany. The international area of responsibility it covers is a perfect example of the simplification and harmonisation of airspace in Europe. MUAC is a model for cross-border projects in the spirit of the Single European Sky. The lower airspace is managed by the national providers, Belgocontrol, Luchtverkeersleiding Nederland (LVNL) and Deutsche Flugsicherung (DFS) respectively. In order to facilitate the closest possible cooperation between civil and military air traffic, the DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung unit (LIPPE Radar), controlling State aircraft and military operations over north-west Germany, is located on MUAC’s premises. Real-time radar and flight plan data is exchanged with the military aviation partners in Belgium and the Netherlands. To further improve safety and efficiency, MUAC controller working positions are currently being deployed across the Netherlands’ military facilities as a virtual extension of the MUAC ATC system.


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