As plane-loads of English football fans leave Lisbon and Euro 2004 behind them, air traffic controllers are using virtual conferencing to ensure that no new arrivals are left in mid-air while the final stages kick off.
EuroControl, the body responsible for the safety of air navigation across the continent, is using software from distance learning and collaborative working specialist Centra to improve communication between air traffic controllers and airlines.
John Byrom, head of flow management at EuroControl, said: "Because you don't know in advance who's going to be in the final, you invariably end up with people hurtling from one side of the continent to the other at the last minute.
"The main problem with Euro 2004, though, is that aircraft are flying into a country with three major airports at a time of year when Portugal quite often has adverse weather conditions."
Online decision-making sessions and daily virtual conferences ensure traffic flow staff are fully informed about anticipated problems such as potential plane stacking.
Traffic control plans can easily be shared, along with maps and other relevant information.
"The important thing about Centra is that you can bring everyone - airlines, air traffic controllers and so on - together for a conference on the day to discuss exactly what needs to be done and share all the relevant information," said Byrom.
For the 2004 Olympics in Athens in August, EuroControl is planning to use the system to hold virtual updates several times a day.
Centra, which was implemented two years ago, is also being used to train air traffic safety workers across Europe.
This has helped to cut costs, improve knowledge sharing and has even reduced the need for workers to travel to training sessions by air.
The tool is also being used for crisis management. "After 9/11, everyone realised there needed to be much better sharing of information internationally," said Byrom.
"We can convene virtual crisis meetings very quickly and lock into other air traffic systems to gain a much wider view of any developing situation."
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