Brussels – The International Air Transport Association (IATA) called on the European Commission, EU member states and Europe’s Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) to ensure that Functional Airspace Blocks (FABs) are delivering real results. The call came on the deadline date for European states to set up agreements grouping Europe’s 27 ANSPs into 9 FABs as a critical step towards creating the Single European Sky (SES).

“Whilst the FAB agreements are mostly in place, there are no signs of real consolidation or efficiencies of scale. EU member states have paid lip-service to European legislators and turned this key reform into an administrative box-ticking exercise and continue to operate their ANSPs in silos,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

The SES could help to restore competitiveness to the European air transport sector by generating EUR 5 billion in cost savings for airspace users and reduce CO2 emissions. “The SES savings are crucial for all airlines, especially those in Europe who are suffering through the economic crisis ,” said Tyler.

The Single European Sky high-level 2020 targets are to (1) increase safety performance by a factor of 10; (2) reduce the impact of flights on the environment by 10%; (3) provide air traffic management services at 50% less cost; and (4) increase capacity 3-fold. Delivery of these targets is behind schedule. IATA calls for two concrete actions to put SES back on track:

  • The European Commission must act to hold non-compliant member states to account for failing to deliver on this and other key SES measures. Additionally, it has become clear that the regulatory framework must include a strong and independent economic regulator.
  • The member states and their service providers must be required to consolidate into the 9 FABs as agreed and make the real-world changes to their operations that will fulfill the requirements of the regulation; namely to optimize airspace along air traffic flows and to optimize their use of human and technical resources.

“Reaching the SES targets, while challenging, is technically feasible. Only a lack of political will is getting in the way. Cost efficient air transport infrastructure is important to the 7.8 million jobs and EUR 475 billion in European business that is supported by the air transport industry. To push SES forward, EU member states and ANSPs need to make the FABs work—delivering real savings and emissions reductions.” said Tyler.

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Notes for Editors:

  • IATA (International Air Transport Association) represents some 240 airlines comprising 84% of global air traffic.