MIAMI – The European Commission (EC) has proposed a management modernization on the Single European Sky regulatory framework. The aim is to establish more sustainable and efficient flight paths.

According to the EC, the upgrade can reduce up to 10% of air transport emissions. Apart from this, the official announcement comes as times call for resilient and adaptable air traffic management.

On its part, Commissioner for Transport Adina Vălean said that today’s proposal would bring forth reductions in delays and fuel consumption on some current routes. It would also open up the market for digital innovation in data services. As a result, the European aviation sector would advance on the dual green and digital transition.

The Single European Sky framework was introduced in 2004. In 2013, a legislation review was on the Commission schedule; however, negotiations got stuck. Hence, today’s EC proposal.

European Commision, Brussel. Photo: Drow male – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Single European Sky Detailed Proposal

As part of the framework, the Commission proposes the following actions to secure safe and cost-effective air traffic management services:

  1. Strengthening the European network and its management to avoid congestion and suboptimal flight routes.
  2. Promoting a European market for data services needed for a better air traffic management.
  3. Streamlining the economic regulation of air traffic services provided on behalf of Member States to stimulate greater sustainability and resilience.
  4. Boosting better coordination for the definition, development and deployment of innovative solutions.

Once the upgrade on the Single European Sky has been announced, the next step is to submit it to the Council and the Parliament for deliberations. After the adoption of the proposal, an expert review to address more detailed matters will take place before implementing the new framework.

The EC says that on average, each flight is 49 km longer than the direct flight. Photo: BriYYZ.

Costs Related to Not Adapting the New Framework

The EC also detailed what the consequences would be if the region does not adapt the proposed air traffic control capacities. In 2019, additional delays cost €6bn while CO2 emissions recorded an excess of 11.6 million tonnes. The curbing emissions, therefore, remains a major challenge for European aviation.

Modern technologies will also be a vital element to ensure collaborative network management under the new Single European Sky framework. This will allow airspace users to fly environmentally-optimal routes.

In the meantime, Pilots will keep flying in congested airspace rather than taking direct flight paths, which entails unnecessary CO2 emissions. The same applies to airlines when taking longer routes to avoid charging zones with higher rates, concluded the EC.

Featured photo: Lufthansa aircraft tail fin. Photo: REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach/Files.