Collective approach needed to deliver Single European Sky: A6 Alliance

The A6 Alliance grouping of major European ANSPs who are driving the deployment of new advanced SESAR technologies and operational concepts has given a lukewarm welcome to a new set of proposals on the future of air traffic management that prescribe a far more centralised approach to delivering efficiencies.

“Our initial reaction is that while this report provides a useful additional perspective, its recommendations have to be considered in the framework of the wider inputs that should inform the evolution of European ATM strategy,” said the A6 Alliance in a statement.

Its comments follow the publication of a new report delivered to the European Commission by the so-called ‘Wise Persons Group’ of aviation experts.

“Policymakers must recognise that the path to successfully reform the European aviation system must include the ATM providers and the wider aviation industry which are at the sharp end of delivering the services required and the safety levels expected,” it said, pointing out that it had called for full engagement with operational stakeholders at the hearings held by the Wise Persons Group.

The A6 Alliance said it would now study carefully the recommendations in the report and respond fully in due course but added that the ATM industry was already developing and implementing technologies to support the SES:

  • The SESAR Deployment Manager (SDM) is an industry-for-industry model which includes Europe’s leading airlines, airports and ANSPs, which we firmly believe to be the model best equipped to manage the complex transition to a Single European Airspace System (SEAS). It has already made specific progress in complex areas, for instance unblocking files such as Datalink Services and ADS-B which remained unsolved until the industry took the lead.
  • The A6 Alliance initiative to develop a SES Digital Backbone (SDB), launched last year, is well placed to enable the Digital European Sky proposed by the Airspace Architecture Study, referenced by the Wise Persons Group. The SDB, to be managed through a Shared Services Alliance of operational stakeholders, demonstrates the maturity and deep understanding of the ATM industry.

“It is therefore clear to the A6 Alliance that while we support the need for a stronger network approach to the management of traffic across Europe, this must be both collective and inclusive,” it said. “It is vital that the aviation industry is closely and fully involved in considering the next steps of improving the EU ATM system. Meanwhile, it is essential that momentum is maintained on current SDM activities.”

“The discussion about the WPG’s recommendations provides another opportunity for all the stakeholders in this critically important initiative to cooperate in finding solutions for the future of aviation in Europe. Delivering the Single European Sky requires a constant and constructive dialogue and effective collaborative engagement.”

The A6 Alliance said it looked forward to playing a full part in the next steps of planning and delivering for European ATM modernisation.