"Growth of VLJs adds a significant extra dimension to the complexity of air traffic in Europe," says Eurocontrol's deputy director of air traffic management strategies, Alex Hendriks.
He says the different performance characteristics of VLJs compared with regular commercial aircraft, particularly in the departure and en-route phases of flight, are likely to have a "considerable impact" on the air transport network.
These VLJs are likely to create problems because they will typically operate between flight levels 330 and 350 - within the most heavily populated band of European cruise altitudes - but will travel at speeds of only 340-380kt (630-700km/h), about 20% slower than larger transports.
There are also concerns over a broad disparity between the climb rates of VLJs against those of regular jets. Eurocontrol's airspace network planning chief, Joe Sultana, told a VLJ workshop last year that aircraft performance differences, in both en-route and terminal airspace, could lead to a significant impact on controller workload. He also warned that wake vortex could pose a hazard if VLJs needed to climb or descend through occupied flight levels.
Possible strategies to cope with VLJs could include airspace redesign, with dedicated departure and arrival patterns, as well as parallel offset procedures.
Esteemed tinpushers of A.net, what say you?
Will the more congested regions of the US experience such a degree of complications? If so, what should be done to alleviate these issues?