Filter By:

Airspace Architecture Study presented at European Parliament

The EU Airspace Architecture Study was the topic of discussion at an event at the European Parliament on 5 March. The study, delivered by the SESAR Joint Undertaking to the European Commission, proposes a rethink of Europe's airspace architecture in order to increase the capacity and resilience of Europe’s busy skies.

In 2017, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on the European Commission’s “Aviation Strategy for Europe’. The resolution “recalls that airspace is also part of the EU single market, and that any fragmentation resulting from its inefficient use, as well as diverging national practices” causes “longer flight times, delays, extra fuel burn, and higher levels of CO2 emissions”. It called on the European Commission to implement the concept of the European Upper Flight Information Region (EUIR), as an enabler for the gradual establishment of a 'Trans-European Motorway of the Sky'.

In this context, the European Parliament invited the European Commission to launch a pilot project on the Single European Sky (SES) airspace architecture.

The European Commission entrusted the SESAR Joint Undertaking in collaboration with the Network Manager with the preparation, launch and management of such a study stressing the need to ensure consistency with the objectives of the SESAR project and in particular, the vision developed in the European ATM Master Plan.

Opening the event, which was hosted by the Sky and Space Intergroup, Monika Hohlmeier, MEP and chair of the group, welcomed the report and its timeliness given the growing air traffic and the delays experienced in 2018. Marian-Jean Marinescu, MEP, and vice chair of the Sky and Space Intergroup, said that the study offers more than expected in terms of digital solutions and an implementation plan for better managing Europe’s skies. Filip Cornelis, Director of Aviation, DG MOVE, agreed that the study offered a tangible way forward to helping to cope with growth and avoid delays passengers have been witnessing.

The proposal on the table, which was presented by Florian Guillermet, Executive Director of SESAR Joint Undertaking, is for a new approach to Europe's airspace architecture that leverages modern technologies and decouples service provision from local infrastructure. It also sees a progressive increase in the levels of automation, cyber-secure data sharing and connectivity. With this proposal, airspace configuration and design will be optimised from a European network point of view, connecting airports and taking due consideration of major traffic flows across Europe data services will be made available to trusted users feed advanced air traffic control tools, allowing operational harmonisation and increasing the level of performance of air traffic controls centres across Europe.

The Single European Airspace System proposed in this study is an evolution of the European airspace architecture that leverages modern technologies to decouple the service provision from the local infrastructure. At the same time, it increases progressively the level of collaboration and automation support through a datarich and cyber-secured connected ecosystem.

Such an evolution is proposed to open new business opportunities through creation of a dynamically distributed system, while fully respecting the sovereignty of Member States in relation to their airspace. With this proposal, airspace configuration and design are optimised from a European network point of view, connecting airports and taking due consideration of major traffic flows across Europe.

For more information, please contact russell.dudley@eraa.org