Airspace Architecture Study proposed the future Single European Airspace System, based on modern technologies that could divide the air traffic service provision from local infrastructure for data provision, enabling the decoupling of
geographical location from the service provision. This decoupling would enable virtualisation where service providers could use data from the common data services, opening doors to different organisation of air traffic service provision, namely more advanced capacity sharing. Virtualisation concept is still under development and several recent studies evaluated some aspects of virtualisation in ATM, but did not yet address in detail the impacts of different Virtual Centre implementation scenarios. In this paper, we propose a linear optimisation model to evaluate the impact of virtualisation and capacity sharing in terms of delay reduction. We show that taking into account the
current airspace design and air traffic management resources,
even the air navigation service providers that accumulate the
highest capacity-caused delays could decrease those in the range of 25-50% up to about 80% through internal collaboration. Furthermore, the decrease of over 50% of the total capacity caused delays could be obtained if FABEC1 were to form a Virtual Centre, and the decrease of about 90% of the total European delay if the Single European Sky (SES) area would form a Virtual Centre. The analysed capacity sharing collaborations indicate the possibility of significant delay reductions, but would not be sufficient, on their own, to eliminate capacity-caused issues in Europe.