Single European Sky call to arms urges ‘final and full’ commitment, action plan outlining priority measures before 2025 launched   

Dozens of European air navigation service providers – all members of the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO) – have joined industry partners in committing to delivering a digital, seamless European Sky.

The joint declaration – signed at the European Commission’s Digital European Sky conference on September 12 – commits its signatories to ‘finally and fully’ implement the Single European Sky, organised together with the Finnish Presidency.

The signatories which include 21 aviation associations have called upon the European institutions and member states to consider the steps necessary to achieve the goals of the Single European Sky, assessing their potential impact, costs and benefits. They have also called on the European institutions to simplify the regulatory and institutional framework to make the European ATM network fit for the future.

The joint declaration that was signed by A6 Alliance, A4 Airline Grouping, A4E, AIRE, ACI EUROPE, ASD, ATCEUC, Borealis Alliance, B4, CANSO, COOPANS, Drone Alliance Europe, EBAA, EHA, ERA, Gate One, IATA, IFATCA, IFATSEA and IAOPA sends a strong signal that the SES vision can only be achieved through the collaborative and coordinated efforts of all stakeholders, including member states and the European institutions.

The declaration comes at a time when global passenger traffic is expected to double by 2037 so accommodating this growth while at the same time addressing its environmental and social impacts is crucial.

The Single European Sky was designed to address aviation environmental challenges by delivering an efficient and integrated air traffic management system through new technologies, interoperability of systems, harmonised regulation and adequate infrastructure. The speed with which the Single European Sky is progressing has been a concern however.

The European Commission has therefore launched a plan for a ‘Digital European Sky’ which will renew the commitment to deliver Single European Sky objectives based on an agreed roadmap that builds on the recommendations from the Airspace Architecture Study in addition to the establishment of a new market for ATM data service providers.

In April it asked the SESAR JU, in close cooperation with the Network Manager and Eurocontrol, to come up with a transition plan that would take into account the operational and technical dimensions of the target architecture defined in the study.

Motivated by a ‘strong sense of urgency’ the Commission said the transition strategy focuses on short term actions and programmes over the next five years to optimise Europe’s airspace capacity.

“Recognising the urgency to act,” the SESAR JU said, “the plan sets out three key operational and technical measures that need to be put in place in the short term (2020 to 2025) in order to set in motion the transformation changes outlined in the Airspace Architecture Study.” These measures include:

·      launching an airspace re-configuration programme supported by an operational excellence programme to achieve quick wins;

·      ensuring the planned roll-out of SESAR Solutions that support cross-border free route operations, and air-ground and ground-ground connectivity;

·      accelerating market uptake of the next generation SESAR technologies and services in order to overcome the de-fragmentation of Europe’s skies through virtualisation and the free flow of data among trusted users across borders.

Read the Airspace Architecture Study Transition Plan