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Brussels, 18 July 2006

Cooperation agreement with the USA on modernising air traffic management

Vice-President Jacques Barrot, the Commissioner responsible for transport, and Marion C. Blakey of the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), recently signed a cooperation agreement that will ensure coordination between their respective programmes for the modernisation of air traffic control, SESAR on the European side, and NGATS (“ Next Generation Air Transport System”) on the American side.

“We must have compatible technologies and standards between Europe and the United States. This is obviously a question of good economic sense but also a safety issue: you cannot ask an aircraft to change over its equipment in the middle of the Atlantic depending on whether it is being controlled by the USA or Europe”, said Jacques Barrot. “With this agreement, we will be sure that the technological choices made on the two sides of the Atlantic are coordinated for the benefit of the aviation industry”.

“As FAA moves forward its aggressive air traffic modernization efforts, it’s vital that we coordinate with our global partners,” said Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator Marion C. Blakey . “This memorandum provides the framework for a more effective, performance-based air transportation system between the United States and Europe.”

SESAR (Single European Sky ATM Research Programme) is currently in its definition phase which has been entrusted to a consortium of 30 companies. On 9 June 2006 the Council of Ministers adopted general guidelines for the next phase of SESAR, the “development phase”, during which all the new technologies and systems will be constructed. Ministers approved the principle of creating a “SESAR Joint Undertaking” which will be responsible for managing the development phase.

The cooperation agreement signed by the Commission and the FAA at the Farnborough airshow will not only make it possible to put in place the mechanisms for coordinating the two programmes but also includes a reciprocity clause that will allow European industry to participate in the American programme and American industry to participate in SESAR.

For more information, see:
- « MEMO » SESAR :
- Air Transport

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