Industry offered pre-eminent role in SES roll-out

Industry is to be offered the chief responsibility to ensure the timely and synchronised implementation of Europe’s future air traffic control system by taking on the new role of Deployment Manager, writes Aimee Turner.
In its late December Communication, the European Commission said: “Considering that industry is responsible for the performance of the system and that it will necessarily bear the majority of the costs of deployment activities, it appears that a Deployment Manager, consisting of a representative industrial partnership leading this level, is the most appropriate approach to enable industry to play the leading role it legitimately claims in [Single European Sky technological] deployment.”
If an industrial partnership does come forward, it could well be given the power to evaluate the financing needs of the various implementation projects and direct €3 billion worth of public funds into them as it sees fit over a ten year period.
The Commission said that Eurocontrol as the designated Network Manager and the SESAR Joint Undertaking (SJU) as the technology development programme will also have a role to play at this level, providing the Deployment Manager with feedback on the impact of the deployment programme on operations and the availability of operational and technical improvements.
It added that the Deployment Manager could possibly, in future, define the roles of, and working arrangements with, the Network Manager, the SJU and the co-ordinator of military ATM efforts in addition to promoting regional co-ordination through Functional Airspace Blocks.
“The Deployment Manager would be selected through an open call process. Should industry fail to establish a partnership for the Deployment Manager, it could be envisaged to designate an existing entity to execute this role,” said the Commission.
The overarching role that the Commission now wants industry to assume does however go against the recent recommendations of a dedicated Task Force that assisted Brussels in its decision-making process.
The Task Force, composed of representatives of the main European organisations that play a role in the implementation of the Single European Sky and SESAR, issued its report in June. It recommended that because public oversight would need to offer guarantees of independence, as well as oversee the expenditure of public funds, the Deployment Manager would need to be an essentially
public body, but with a close relationship with stakeholders.
“For example, the Deployment Manager body could interact closely with a permanent but separate consultative body composed of industry stakeholder representatives that would need to be fully independent of the project implementation (third) level,” it recommended.
It said that by so doing, key industry players could come together under one roof, to guarantee their commitment to the programme and to establish an equitable
sharing of risks.
CANSO, the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation, said it welcomed the Commission´s proposed framework determining how SESAR’s deployment will be governed.
ENAV chief Massimo Garbini who heads the European CANSO CEO Committee (EC3) of all the leading air navigation organisations in Europe, said: “We are fully convinced that the crucial element for a successful deployment of SESAR is for the industry to take the lead in the governance of the deployment and receive support through appropriate public funding.
“The governance that the EC is recommending emphasises the need for a strong EU political oversight and a single structure, including political, management and implementation elements,” it added.