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Modernisation of the European air traffic management system over the coming years

Gatwick Airport.

Leading airspace users, airports, air navigation service providers and the EUROCONTROL Network Manager outline plans to drive the modernisation and digitalisation of European ATM.

BRUSSELS – An innovative Partnership of leading airspace users, airports, air navigation service providers and the EUROCONTROL Network Manager (NM), jointly released a set of high-level principles to drive and effectively coordinate the modernisation of the European air traffic management (ATM) system over the coming years.

The Partnership is perfectly placed to provide decisive and clear added value to ATM stakeholders and the European aviation system. Its members possess a wealth of operational and institutional expertise as well as large-scale programme management experience, bringing under one roof AIRLINES, ANSPs, ACI Europe representing Europe’s airports and the EUROCONTROL NM as Consortium Coordinator. 

Together, the Partners have defined the following high-level principles to:

  • build and make use of an unprecedented pool of civil and military ATM expertise, know-how and skills
  • simplify the processes to perform the required tasks, better focusing resources and efforts
  • expand perspectives beyond EU boundaries to support stakeholders across the whole European network
  • combine a performance-based and passenger-centric approach with the Network perspective
  • focus resolutely on the environmental performance of ATM to support the European ‘Green Deal’
  • deliver the highest level of buy-in from all involved stakeholders thanks to inclusive stakeholder consultation mechanisms
  • widen the scope to all major deployment and infrastructure initiatives requiring synchronisation at pan-European level
  • establish a closer link between the technology innovation cycle and ATM operations addressing the most urgent priorities and operational needs
  • defragment deployment and coordinate investments through a reinforced programme management approach
  • create a “virtuous cycle” to link and de-risk all phases of the ATM lifecycle through close cooperation with the SESAR Joint Undertaking

The Partnership intends to build on the achievements of the SESAR Deployment Manager (SDM) and SESAR Deployment Alliance (SDA), and is ready for the future steps in deployment activities in view of the forthcoming call for proposals by the European Commission, covering the term mid-2021 until at least 2027.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has massively impacted European ATM and the only way for European ATM to ‘build back better’ from the pandemic is by working together. The Partnership of operational stakeholders and the EUROCONTROL Network Manager is hugely important in this regard: an alliance of equals with unparalleled expertise and experience that can really get things done and deploy an effective, cost-efficient, scalable and environmentally sustainable European ATM infrastructure for the future”, said Eamonn Brennan Director General EUROCONTROL

Alain Herve Bernard, COO Air France representing airlines grouping says, "from the beginning of the SESAR journey, A4 Airlines – acting for the interest of the airline industry – have been fully involved (with all operational stakeholders) and support the modernisation of European ATM Network infrastructure. The COVID crisis and expectations for a greener aviation stress the importance of a fully scalable, resilient and efficient ATM environment. This reinforces the urgent need to accelerate the deployment of the Digital European Sky. This equal partnership with all operational stakeholders is the only way to collectively and efficiently address all the challenges toward this new innovation cycle and finally bring to our customers the most efficient air transport system they deserve.” 

“The ANSPs are fully committed to the delivery of the Digital European Sky, and this equal partnership represents the successful vehicle to make it a reality. Our Partnership shall be perceived as the goal solution. The leadership and inclusive approach for stakeholders in all phases of the ATM lifecycle is key to achieve the Single European Sky objectives” comments Janusz Janiszewski, CEO PANSA and representing ANSPs grouping.

"Being fully involved and part of the deployment of SESAR is a must for ACI Europe. This is about pursuing our agenda for a closer integration between airport operations and Air Traffic Management, which is instrumental for ensuring a greener, more passenger-centric and more efficient air transport system. With the COVID-19 crisis only reinforcing those imperatives, we are delighted to be part of this new industry partnership together with EUROCONTROL Network Manager – and look forward to leveraging the SESAR programme to build back better", says Olivier Jankovec, Director General ACI Europe.

Tatiana Rokou

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She holds a Bachelor's degree in Communication & Mass Media from Panteion University of Political & Social Studies of Athens and she has been editor and editor-in-chief in various economic magazines and newspapers.