Brussels, 25th June 2008
The European Commission adopted today the second package of legislation for a Single European Sky (SES II). These proposals aim to further improve safety, cut costs and reduce delays. That will in turn mean lower fuel consumption, so that airlines could save up to 16 million tons of CO2 emissions and cut their annual cost by between two and three billion euros. This full reform of the European air traffic management system will be key to managing the doubling of traffic expected by 2020. Not only airline passengers, but also freight forwarders and military and private aviation will benefit. The package will create additional jobs in aviation. Meanwhile, European manufacturing industry will gain from being at the forefront of innovation in air traffic management technology (i.e. satellite based systems - Galileo, datalink, etc.), thus giving it a competitive edge on global markets.
Commission Vice-President responsible for transport, Antonio Tajani, said: "This package is a win-win for passengers, for Europe's economy and for the environment. The skies in Europe are still fragmented. As a consequence, flights are on average 49 km longer than needed. Our proposal aims at helping reduce queues to take off and land, passengers will have more chance of arriving on time. At the same time the package will help us deliver safer and greener flying, while creating more capacity."
The SES II package is based on four pillars: updates to existing legislation from 2004; the SESAR ATM (Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research) Master Plan or 'technological pillar'; the 'safety pillar' and an airport capacity action plan.
The first pillar introduces several enhancements to the original SES legislation (see IP/01/1398), including binding performance targets for air navigation service providers, a European network management function to ensure convergence between national networks and a definitive date for Member States to improve performance ,initially through a cross border cooperative approach known as Functional Airspace Blocks.
The new package places environmental issues at the core of the Single European Sky and improved air traffic management should realise its potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from aviation. Prospective improvements are up to 10% per flight, which amounts to 16 million tons of CO2 savings per year and a reduction of annual costs by €2.4 billion.
The technological pillar focuses on introducing better technology. The SESAR programme brings together all aviation stakeholders to develop and operate a new generation, Europe-wide air traffic management system. Its deployment will enable the safe, sustainable and cost-effective handling of twice the current traffic by 2020.
The safety pillar provides for increased responsibilities for the European Aviation Safety Agency. This would ensure precise, uniform and binding rules for airport safety, air traffic management and air navigation services, as well as sound oversight of their implementation by Member States.
Finally, the airport capacity pillar tackles the shortage of runways and airport facilities, which currently threatens to become a major bottleneck. The initiative seeks to co-ordinate better airport slots issued to aircraft operators with air traffic management measures as well as the establishment of an airport capacity observatory to fully integrate airports in the aviation network.
For further information see MEMO/08/432 and http://ec.europa.eu/transport/air_portal/traffic_management/index_en.htm