Collaboration appointed to transform Europe's airspace

The modernisation of European airspace took a major step forward today with the appointment of a unique aviation industry partnership to coordinate and synchronise €3bn worth of upgrades to the continent’s air traffic management infrastructure. The European Commission has tasked the SESAR (Single European Sky ATM Research) Deployment Alliance, an unprecedented cross industry partnership made up of four airline groups, operators of 25 airports and 11 air traffic control providers, to plan and coordinate a wholesale modernisation of European airspace, making it fit for the 21st Century. It has been appointed to the European Commission-mandated role of SESAR Deployment Manager. Europe’s fragmented airspace structure is inefficient and costs more to operate than equivalent regions around the world. The European Commission’s Single European Sky initiative, of which SESAR deployment is an important pillar, will improve efficiency, lower delays and raise environmental performance. The modernisation is not only vital for the future competitiveness of Europe’s aviation industry, but for the wider health of its economy. Aviation supports 11.7 million jobs in Europe, equating to one person in every 40 people employed, generating €452bn per annum of European GDP. However, with air traffic forecast to increase by 50% by 2035 to approximately 14.4 million flights, Europe’s aging air traffic control technologies and infrastructure will begin to undermine its position as a leading aviation hub if nothing is done to address it. The SESAR Deployment Manager will ensure that new technologies and solutions that have already been tested and validated through the SESAR Joint Undertaking are delivered into everyday operations across Europe, delivering significant benefits to airspace users and the environment. The SESAR Deployment Alliance, comprised of the A6 Alliance of ANSPs, the A4 airlines and the SESAR-related Deployment Airport Operators Group (SDAG), will coordinate and synchronise for an initial 6-year period the work of ensuring Europe maintains its competitive edge.

The A6 Deployment Manager Alliance is formed of five ANSP members of the SESAR JU – , DFS (Germany), DSNA (France), ENAIRE(Spain), ENAV (Italy) and NATS (UK), working with PANSA of Poland and a group representing ANSPs members of the COOPANS alliance including AustroControl (Austria), Croatia Control, IAA (Ireland), LFV (Sweden) and Naviair (Denmark).  Collectively, they control more than 70% of European air traffic and 72% of the investment in the future European ATM infrastructure. Five of Europe’s nine Functional Airspace Blocks (FABs) – the geographic pillar of SES – are also represented within the A6 DM Alliance.

Air France-KLM group, easyJet, IAG and Lufthansa Group, the four airline members of the EC’s Aviation Platform, created the A4 Group of Airlines at the end of 2012. Their aim is to help accelerate operational improvements in ATM and to coordinate airline participation in the SESAR Deployment Manager to ensure performance driven implementation of new ATM procedures and technologies.Air France-KLM group, IAG and Lufthansa Group together represent more than 588,357 million revenue passenger kilometres of a total 836,556 million within AEA. EasyJet is the second largest low cost carrier in Europe and represents more than 1200 flights of a total 4361 flights within ELFAA.

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