Visiting the Madrid Area Control Center in Torrejón
On June 22, during our visit to the World ATM Congress 2022, we had an incredible experience. I visited the command and management of air navigation in Spain. Specifically, I went to the Madrid Area Control Center in Torrejón.
The Spanish air navigation service provider is Enaire
Here we learned that the air navigation service provider in Spain is Enaire, a company with 4000 employees. ENAIRE is responsible for the airspace of Spain. It manages 3 FIR (Flight information region): FIR Madrid, FIR Barcelona and FIR Canary Islands. Practically ENAIRE knows almost everything that flies in Spanish airspace. In 2019 it monitored and controlled 2.2 million flights, and in 2021 there were only 1.2 million flights (a small number due to the COVID-19 pandemic).
Madrid ACC manages 36% of all air traffic in Spain
Madrid ACC manages 36% of all air traffic in Spain. Madrid ACC is the air traffic control center of the Central-North Regional Air Navigation Directorate (DRNA-RCN), which includes 9 main airports (Santiago - Rosalia, Asturias, Santander, Bilbao, Vitoria, San Sebastian, Logrono, Pamplona and Madrid). - Decks)
ACC also provides FIR / UIR Madrid air traffic management services and proximity services (TMA) to the four airports in the Community of Madrid (Madrid Barajas, Getafe, Cuatro Vientos and Torrejón), as well as military air services. .
This control center also has the particularity of providing centralized services throughout the national territory, through the Centralized Air Navigation Data Network (REDAN), CRAMI (Automatic Retransmission Center for Integrated Messages), SACTA (Automatic Air Navigation System), as well as and the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) satellite navigation system, among others.
Employees of the Madrid Area Control Center in Torrejón work in shifts. Each air traffic controller works 5 days (two days in the morning, two days in the afternoon and the last night shift) with a 3-day break.
We thank the European Commission's Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE) for organizing the visit to Madrid ACC and the Enaire representatives for their extensive explanations of the work carried out. Obviously, filming and photography were banned!
It was a pleasant and unique experience. It was spectacular to see a handful of people manage to fly hundreds of planes simultaneously. The command center is divided into zones and each zone has several air traffic controllers and two supervisors. Even the military aviation has a special area with air traffic controllers in the military sphere. Apparently it seems difficult and complicated, but everything has a logic as aviation is built.
The future in aviation will be interesting also from the point of view of air traffic management. But about airspace, drones and multiple models of aircraft, in another article!