Cross-border Dynamic Sectorisation

In 2013, the UK-Ireland FAB launched a trial to test the SESAR concept of cross-border ‘Dynamic Sectorisation’. Cross-border Dynamic Sectorisation is the tactical switching of air traffic services between providers, designed to help smooth traffic flows and better match capacity to demand, as well as provide resilience.

The objectives

The overall objective of the trial was to test the cross-border Dynamic Sectorisation operational concept and to explore how it could inform the introduction of Free Route Airspace into UK Airspace.

To achieve this, 18 specific objectives were identified, including airspace design, air traffic control procedures, safety documentation, military agreements and the regulatory and legal framework required for the trial.

The Trial: phase 1

Phase 1 involved a live operational trial which saw the IAA deliver, on a trial basis, air traffic control services in airspace over Northern Ireland and further North. 

The Regulators played an integral part in the development of the trial and jointly regulated it, providing one single regulatory assurance model run by a single regulatory team drawn from both NSAs.


of the project objectives were achieved during phase 1.

The Trial: phase 2

Phase 2 involved NATS live shadowing a portion of Irish airspace, with the shadowing ATM Systems being dynamically changed during The trial to enable a representation of the tactical transfer of control. It also tested the interoperability between COOPANS and iTEC, paving the way for future cross-border collaboration.

The trial involved extensive collaboration between all FAB partners: ANSPs, Militaries, National Supervisory Authorities and States, who worked closely throughout to ensure it was a success.

The second phase of the trial enabled all remaining objectives of the project to be completed.

The benefits

Tested the SESAR concept of Dynamic Sectorisation between the IAA and NATS.
Transfer of traffic via latitude and longitude co-ordinates rather than named Co-ordination Points (COPs) was tested between NATS and IAA Flight Data Processing systems, paving the way for future trajectory-based operations.
Interoperability testing between COOPANS and iTEC FDP systems.
Direct Route Airspace (DRA) has been deployed in the RATHLIN and CENTRAL sectors of Prestwick Airspace, with support from the IAA.