Worldwide first for Belgocontrol meteo service

As of recently, Belgocontrol has been sending its operational meteorological data to its international partners in a new data format. The meteorological service of the Belgian air navigation service provider is the first in the world to be using that specific format. It is the first step in the development of new applications for the use of meteorological data in air traffic management.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Operational meteorological data is exchanged on a global scale, e.g. for use in the aviation sector, where the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation) is in charge. Belgocontrol is one of the key European players within the ICAO meteorological data communication, because the company manages one of the three European OPMET databanks (OPerational METeo). For that reason, ICAO has asked Belgocontrol to be a frontrunner in the implementation of the new meteorological data formats.

Standard of the future

Since July Belgocontrol uses the so-called IWXXM format (ICAO Meteorological Information Exchange Model) for disseminating meteorological data. That message format, as well as the related data model, will become an ICAO standard as from 2020, which means it will become mandatory. In the field of meteorology it is a first step towards the implementation of the SWIM concept (System Wide Information Management) that has been elaborated within SESAR (Single European Sky ATM Research).  

New apllications

From now on, Belgocontrol will be transmitting data in the new format to the Regional OPMET Centre in London. From there it is disseminated worldwide. Thanks to the IWXXM format, it will be possible to integrate applications in the future, such as the more accessible representation of meteorological data combined with other aviation data for e.g. airports.

Johan Decuyper, Belgocontrol CEO: “The exchange of meteorological data is tremendously important in aviation. Our meteorological service plays a key role in Europe by managing a databank. Now we also set an example to the rest of the world by being the very first to use the new data exchange format. It shows that we want to keep playing a leading role in the field of meteorology as well.”

This implementation project was co-financed by the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) of the European Commission in the framework of the SESAR deployment phase.

You can find more information on this project at