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Functional Airspace Block – Central Europe

Seven European countries sign agreement towards the Single European Sky

Austria, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovak Republic and Slovenia have today signed an agreement to create the "Functional Airspace Block – Central Europe" (FAB CE) an important step towards achieving the Single European Sky. Slowly the political objectives of the Single European Sky legislation adopted in 2004 is coming into reality with Member States taking the necessary steps to ensure the creation of functional airspace blocks, or FABs. Today’s agreement marks the realisation of the fourth FAB in Europe. The other European Union Member States are expected to sign similar agreements in the coming year.

European Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for transport, said: "The FAB CE agreement is an important achievement bringing together five European Union Member States and two neighbouring States into a structured cooperation to better manage the airspace and optimise the provision of air navigation services to deliver the performance requested by airspace users. In view of the location of the FAB on the South-East axis and the forecasted growth in traffic in this area, its success will depend on the efficient implementation of the cooperation structures and optimisation of the air navigation service provision."

The creation of functional airspace blocks is one of the cornerstones of the Single European Sky. They are an important driver to deliver increased performance and will change the landscape of air traffic management (ATM) services. For air navigation service providers, the creation of the functional airspace blocks opens cooperation opportunities, which will facilitate a response to the new binding performance targets established under the Single European Sky legislation. FAB CE will involve a high density airspace with main traffic flows East-West, often crossing multiple Air Navigation Service Providers towards the northern part of the airspace. Traffic increases to the western and southern parts of the FAB.

The FAB CE agreement creates the framework, general conditions and governance under which the contracting states intend to ensure air traffic management and the provision of air navigation services in the context of the Single European Sky legislation.

FAB CE will be governed by a Council (the decision-making body) representing the interests of both civil and military aviation with sub-committees:

  • Joint Civil Military Airspace Coordination Committee (JCMACC) for strategic coordination of national airspace management and airspace design policies, air traffic flow and capacity management processes and civil-military cooperation.
  • The National Supervisory Authorities Coordination Committee (NSA CC).
  • Other bodies established by Council as necessary for implementation, operation and further development of FAB CE.

The FAB CE agreement is part of the common response to the Single European Sky performance scheme, whose objective is "to achieve optimal performance in the areas relating to safety, environmental sustainability, capacity, cost-efficiency, flight efficiency and military mission effectiveness, by the design of airspace and the organisation of ATM in the airspace concerned regardless of existing boundaries". The FAB CE is targeting a common FAB CE performance plan consistent with the EU-wide performance targets as from the second reference period, i.e. 2015.

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