Air Transport: Commission starts the deployment phase for air traffic management of the future

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The European Commission adopted today a first set of essential changes for the modernisation of the European Air Traffic Management (ATM) system known as the "Pilot Common Project". This is the first of a series of projects resulting from SESAR, the technological pillar of the Single European Sky. The projects focus in particular on the improvements of air traffic to and from airports, the increase of aircraft flexibility to fly more direct and more efficient routes as well as enhanced sharing of more precise information among all actors and better coordination with the military.

By the application of innovative technologies and more efficient operational procedures, the Pilot Common Project will bring benefits in terms of safety, environment, capacity and cost-efficiency for the whole ATM network, with a positive impact for passengers and the whole air transport sector. The timely deployment of these projects will reinforce the European industry's leading role on the global scene and are a unique opportunity for Europe's economy.

European Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for transport, said: "We need to deliver ambitious reforms in what is by now an outdated air traffic management system. The Pilot Common Project is a major milestone for SESAR and towards the achievement of the Single European Sky. Most importantly it shows that we are able and willing to make the necessary changes."  

This project is the result of a partnership between ATM stakeholders, including Eurocontrol, the Commission and the Member States to make operational the innovative concepts defined in the European ATM Master Plan - developed and validated in the SESAR Joint Undertaking. Building on years of R&D and preparation, SESAR is now at the final and most important stage, the deployment of innovative solutions to modernise the European ATM system.

The main benefits expected from this first set of changes are:

  1. a reduction of aircraft fuel burn, thanks to more efficient flight trajectories, and

  2. productivity gains thanks to the optimisation of the provision for air navigation services through better operational procedures and better information sharing between controllers and pilots.

The final aim of the SESAR project is:

  1. Cutting ATM-related expenses for airspace users in half

  2. Reducing by 10% the effects flights have on the environment

  3. Delivering a 3-fold increase in capacity which will also reduce delays both on the ground and in the air

  4. Improving safety by a factor of 10.

Background information

For more information about the SESAR joint undertaking see: IP/13/664

For more information about the Single European Sky initiative see: IP/13/523

Next steps

This was the first step in the operational deployment of the SESAR project. The next steps will be the establishment of the Deployment Manager and the launch of the calls for the implementation of each project.

The Deployment Manager will coordinate the deployment of the Pilot Common Project with all operational stakeholders based on a Deployment Programme. It is expected to be in place by the end of 2014.

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