Europe’s controllers offer views on kick-starting Single Sky

European air traffic controllers have proposed a list of actions to remedy the lacklustre performance of the Single European Sky programme.

International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers’ Associations (IFATCA) with the collaboration of the UK’s GATCO have published and sent to the European Commission the white paper Single European Sky III – Mission Possible?.

The paper presents IFATCA’s views on the reasons behind the delay in the implementation of the Single European Sky (SES) and offers five recommendations to achieve an interoperable, standardised and efficient SES and ATM system, without compromising safety.
They insist that the main reasons behind the failure to implement the SES are the lack of an agreed long-term vision and strategy about the SES, an inefficient legal framework which reinforces the idea of short-term performance targets, the lack of political will among member states to break free from national boundaries and the absence of technological and procedures standards to ensure Europe-wide interoperability.
IFATCA proposes the following five recommendations to address the root causes of the SES delay:
  • create a simplified regulatory framework which increases investment in key capacity-increasing areas and which includes a flexible pricing structure based on the law of supply and demand.
  • modernise the airspace structure, the operational procedures and the separation standards of the European ATM system to increase its capacity without compromising safety.
  • move away from highly customised and non-interoperable technological solutions and define international standards enabling the creating and use of COTS ATM systems and products.
  • incorporate the airports to the Network Manager so the management and optimisation of the network is based on a true gate-to-gate approach.
  • make the Joint Human-Machine System concept the foundation of the future European ATM system.

IFATCA and GATCO said they remain committed to and have been supporting the SES since its inception and they believe the SES is possible.

“However,” they insist, “the onus is on all the stakeholders to collaborate, leave vested interests aside and find a way forward, which avoids the mistakes of the past and addresses the current problems of the ATM system. Only then will the SES become a reality.”

You can read IFATCA’s white paper here.