Reform European air traffic management to reduce fragmentation, improve efficiency and support the European Green Deal.
The Single European Sky (SES) was launched by the European Commission back in 2004 in response to sustained air traffic growth. By 2009 measures were added to reduce ATM costs and environmental impacts while in the meantime improve safety. With estimated costs of airspace fragmentation amounting to EUR 4 bn a year, defragmentation was a priority, with clear benefits to aviation’s environmental footprint.
Achievements have been made at operational, technological and institutional levels, but there is much work still to do. The coming years are likely to present both significant challenges and opportunities for stakeholders, with the recovery from COVID impacts, the European Green Deal goals and looking ahead to the initial implementation of a recast SES framework regulation.
The SES landscape now involves an increasingly complex network of interconnected stakeholders. Collaboration has an important impact on the timely and successful implementation of SES, and this is where independent and expert facilitation can make a real difference. Also, whilst the SES stakeholder groups are focussed primarily on SES policy, discussions cover all issues in the ATM/ANS domain as well as airports and beyond. This ranges from high-level policy through to performance planning and monitoring, and operational and implementational needs and challenges. It is therefore key to the success of the groups that the Commission has access to a diverse pool of experienced consultants able to provide high quality input on all possible areas of required expertise, including from a cross-domain (functions and industries) perspective.
Egis is helping to support three stakeholder groups, which act as key fora to help navigate the next steps for the SES, as well as the aftermath of the pandemic. These are:
The NSA Coordination Platform (NCP) provides a forum to discuss and create synergies among National Supervisory Authorities (NSAs) and to develop added value between various NSA-related activities. The NCP is set up and supported by the Commission to promote cross-fertilisation of ideas so that NSAs work in a more harmonised way, helping them fulfil their supervisory roles and responsibilities. The scope of the NCP focuses on concrete needs of NSAs in relation to the SES implementation process. Members of the NCP meet to share best practices related to their regulatory tasks and identify potential issues emerging from SES implementation. The NCP does not duplicate activities under development elsewhere, rather it addresses their overall consistency.
The Industry Consultation Body (ICB) provides a means for the aviation industry to provide joint guidance to the Commission on strategic and technical issues related to SES evolution, particularly the development and implementation of the future European ATM system and its components. The ICB is unique in its breadth of membership encompassing all operational stakeholders as well as manufacturers, professional staff, and a range of observers. The main challenge of the group is to reach consensus on outputs and develop advice to the Commission, with a single, and therefore powerful, voice. Reaching a meaningful consensus is a difficult task and requires skill and judgement to avoid a ‘lowest common denominator’ outcome. Sometimes, sharing a balanced range of opinions is the best way forwards.
The Expert Group on the Human Dimension of the SES (EGHD) advises the Commission on SES development and implementation, regarding all measures relating to human factors. EGHD members include five professional staff organisations, plus the ANSP trade body CANSO. For the EGHD the “human dimension” includes technical, operational and practical changes to working practices and procedures which could impact individual actors involved in the delivery of air navigation services, including operational and engineering ATM staff. In addition, the EGHD works regularly with the ATM Social Partners Regulatory Task Force (ASPReT) to develop expert perspectives on social aspects of the SES.