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Brussels, 25 March 2010

Commission takes important step towards optimising the use of European airspace

Today, the European Commission adopted rules on how to manage the flow of air traffic in order to optimise available capacity in the use of airspace. This new regulation is an important step in implementing the EU network manager foreseen in the second package of measures of the Single European Sky.

“The safety and capacity in our skies depend on the use of transparent and efficient rules that will provide a flexible and timely management of air traffic flows at European level and will optimise the use of air routes”, said Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for mobility and transport.

The current rules

For the time being there is no legislation concerning air traffic flow management at European level. In the framework of the Eurocontrol Convention, a single central unit for air traffic flow management at European level is already operational: the Eurocontrol CFMU (Central Flow Management Unit). However its cooperation with local flow management units at Member States level is based on voluntary procedures.

For this reason there is a lack of consistency between the planned flow management measures at European level and the real flight operations of airlines that does not allow optimising available capacity in the use of airspace.

The new Commission regulation

The new legislation makes mandatory the procedures for flight planning and for the use of available airspace capacity during all phases of the flight. It also improves the consistency between flight plans and airport slots through a better exchange of information between the airport bodies and air traffic flow managers.

The regulation is based on the air traffic flow management procedures laid down by the International Civil Aviation Organisation, and it has been developed with the technical expertise of Eurocontrol. It includes also minimum mandatory figures of consistency between the planned departure slots and the real flight operations of airlines.

What next?

The provisions of this regulation shall be applied 18 months from the day of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.

For further information on the Single European Sky:

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