Europe secures future of SESAR research

Europe has agreed to extend the work of the Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research (SESAR) Joint Undertaking (SJU).
The Council of Ministers of the European Union said it recognised the need to foster research and innovation  in air traffic management beyond the organisation’s original mandate of 2016, as well as in appreciation of the SESAR partnership’s ability to respond to evolving business needs and fast track technological and operational improvements in Europe’s ATM system.
Established in 2007 by Council Regulation 219/2007 for a period up to December 2016, the SESAR Joint Undertaking is a public-private partnership in which the European ATM sector engages in a single European effort to overcome the past defragmented approach to research and innovation.
As the technological pillar of the Single European Sky (SES), the SESAR programme develops the necessary technologies and operational procedures to make European air travel more cost efficient, environmentally friendly and safer.
“The SESAR Joint Undertaking is a great asset for Europe because it can bring real economic value to the aviation value chain in the context of the Single European Sky. It re-affirms our reputation for innovation and scientific excellence in the global arena. It is also commendable how the SESAR Joint Undertaking has successfully secured the involvement of ATM stakeholders in the development of a modernised ATM system that meets their operational needs,” said João Aguiar Machado, director general of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE), and chairman of the SJU Administrative Board. 
He said notable achievements of the SESAR Programme have been:

  • The world’s first flight in four dimensions (3D + time) to enhance flight predictability;
  • Remote Tower Services to provide access to remote regions and boost regional economies;
  • Extensive toolkits to enhance safety on airport runways;
  • Creation of an ATM intranet for the seamless exchange of information and better collaborative decision-making.

“Before SESAR, Europe witnessed very few changes in the field of ATM. Even just 10 years ago, when trying to improve something in ATM, the answer was always that there were no solutions available. This is no longer the case since SESAR has proven that change is possible and the solutions entering the pipeline for industrialisation and deployment will bring real benefits to the aviation and transport sectors, through enhanced ATM performance,” siad Florian Guillermet, executive director, SESAR Joint Undertaking.
The SESAR 2020 programme will demonstrate the viability of the technological and operational solutions already developed within the SESAR Programme (2008-2016) in larger and more operationally-integrated environments. SESAR 2020 will result in an overall budget of €1.5 billion, of which €500 million will be provided by the European Union and complementary funding provided by Eurocontrol and industry.
A further €85 million is earmarked for specific exploratory research activities, particularly designed to attract universities, public institutions, SMEs and industry to ensure a continuous flow of research results moving towards innovation and deployment.
A call for expression of interest will be launched in early summer 2014, whereby existing members of the SJU will have an opportunity to express their interest to continue in the partnership with the European Union and Eurocontrol. New members and associate partners are also expected to join as a result of the call. SESAR 2020, which is expected to run from 2015 onwards, will build upon and strengthen the work that has already been achieved under the ongoing SESAR Programme.