IATA welcomes the September 2020 European Commission proposal to upgrade the Single European Sky regulatory framework.
Europe’s airspace is congested and inefficient, resulting in higher costs, more delays and greater emissions than is necessary or acceptable. A modernization of European airspace to reorganize and improve it, called Single European Sky (SES) has been on the drawing board for almost 20 years. Progress has been slow. The reasons are complex but are rooted in politics rather than technological development. Issues around airspace sovereignty and the willingness of national air navigation service providers (ANSPs) to reform have delayed the much-needed improvements that Europe’s citizens deserve.
The original vision was that by 2020 the SES would have achieved :
- An improvement in safety performance by a factor of 10
- A 10% reduction in the effect flights have on the environment
- A reduction in the cost of ATM services to airspace users by at least 50%
- A three-fold increase in capacity where needed
None of these objectives have been fully realized.
The prize for Europe is significant. In addition to the safety and environmental improvements, an independent economic study conducted in 2016 showed that successful airspace modernization and meeting cost reduction and capacity improvements could result in an extra EUR245 billion in European GDP and an additional 1 million jobs a year from 2035.
In September 2020 the European Commission published its update to SES, calling for an accelerated program of action. The SES2++ proposal is a unique chance to modernize Europe’s airspace and deliver much-needed infrastructure that is viable for the next 30 years. But implementing the SES will be a huge challenge unless there is a renewed commitment from states, businesses, industry, and regulators to deliver. IATA and its members are committed to make the SES a reality.
There is much in the Commission’s proposals that airlines support and we look forward to working with them to deliver progress.