The European air traffic management (ATM) system currently handles around 26,000 flights daily. Forecasts indicate air traffic levels are likely to double by 2020. As a response to this, the European Commission passed two Single European Sky packages to create a legislative framework for European aviation.
These are designed to help European airspace accommodate the increasing air traffic flows, at the same time as cutting costs and improving its performance. The SES provides the common rules and procedures at European level to organise airspace into functional blocks according to traffic flows rather than to national borders.
NATS has been involved in the setting up of the UK – Ireland FAB (Functional Airspace Block), the first to be established under the Single European Sky initiative. This has now been operational since July 2008 and is creating substantial improvements. From 2008 to 2011 it is estimated to have enabled 48,000 tonnes fuel savings, that’s 152,000 tonnes CO2. The centrepiece of the FAB Plan 2011-14 is a set of projects to optimise domestic, North Atlantic and European traffic (ODNET) which focus on ways to reduce emissions and fuel burn.
On the technology side, SES is supported by the Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) programme which will provide advanced technologies and procedures with a view to modernising and optimising the future European ATM network.
SESAR is the technical component of the Single European Sky initiative to harmonise air traffic control across Europe. By 2020, air traffic will have doubled and SESAR’s aim is to ensure that, using interoperable systems, European airspace is controlled even more safely, with minimal delay and with fewer emissions. We are working with the air navigation service providers for France, Spain, Germany, Italy and Sweden.
NATS is fully committed to the SESAR programme and we are a leading part of the Joint Undertaking. We very much want to be at the forefront of moves towards the Single European Sky and will do all we can to help move SESAR forward to help achieve that.
Tel: 01489 615 945 (0830-1800)
Fax: 01489 615 734