First anniversary of successful cooperation between Belgian civil and military air traffic controllers in Brussels Tower

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Today marks the first anniversary of the successful CIV-MIL project. The ATCC (Air Traffic Control Centre), formerly located in Gavere (Semmerzake) in East Flanders, landed figuratively on the skeyes site in Steenokkerzeel on 2 December 2019. From then on, the military went to live together with the skeyes‘ colleagues. Since then, the military and civil air traffic controllers have been working from the same operational room. The colocation brings with it a lot of interesting aspects from a professional perspective, such as the constructive cooperation between military and civilian colleagues in order to use the small but very busy Belgian airspace more efficiently, more safely, more ecologically and more dynamically. 

“We are not married, but we do have a cohabitation contract”, says Lieutenant-Colonel BEM Jo Heylens, Corps Commander of the ATCC. “Just like life partners, we listen to each other, we have to compromise every now and then, but we work hard together to make this project a success story. ” The cohabitation contract contains some joint implementation agreements in different areas such as human resources, operational services, finance, …

A great deal of progress has been made in cooperation by 2020. Johan Decuyper, CEO of skeyes, looks back on the first year with satisfaction: “It was a challenge to achieve this collaboration. For many years we have tried to implement this collaboration in concrete terms and we have succeeded in doing so. Listening to each other’s needs is an important aspect of this colocation”.

In June 2020, an important step was taken towards more civil-military cooperation in the field of air traffic control services with the commissioning of the new “supervisor suite”. Bringing together skeyes and Defence supervisors is a key enabler, a crucial step for further cooperation between the two partners. The direct interaction between the supervisors ensures that coordination and communication are faster and clearer, meeting both parties’ needs and allowing even more optimal use of airspace.

Within the framework of the flexible use of airspace in Belgium, the Airspace Management Cell (AMC) has been operational since 21 September 2020. This is a joint civil-military “airspace management cell” in which permanent consultation is crucial. The CIV-MIL coordination will increase the safety and capacity of airspace and improve the efficiency and flexibility of civil and military flight operations.

Cooperation is also increasing in the field of disseminating aeronautical information – Aeronautical Information Management (AIM) – and training.

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