Single European sky takes a step forward

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The European Union has taken a further step towards a single European sky at a conference in Budapest.

The conference focused on identifying tangible measures to finalise implementation of the Single European Sky. The EU expects substantial benefits from enhanced cooperation between the European bodies involved in air traffic management as well as from the extension of the Single European Sky to non-EU states.

The establishment of “functional airspace blocks” by which member states collectively re-design and rationalise their airspace to better respond to airlines’ needs will contribute to the defragmentation of airspace and should allow important economies of scale.

Finally the incorporation of all phases of flights, from airport to airport, in a global approach to air traffic management (the “gate-to-gate” approach), the centralisation of operational functions managed at European level and the deployment of new technologies will also bring major added value to SES.

The concrete measures emanating from the conference are collected and detailed in the “Budapest Charter” which will complement the SES implementation road map and will be used to monitor its progress.

The EU estimates a single European sky  will lead to annual savings of 500,000 tons of CO2, 150,000 tons of fuel and 200 million euros in fuel burn and flight time.

Commission vice-president Siim Kallas said: “The construction of a true single sky has entered a crucial phase. We must put in place the concrete mechanisms that will allow the SES package to be implemented in time. We must maintain the level of ambition that was set for us by the European institutions in establishing a long-term sustainable framework for air traffic management. This will not only give a boost to the industry; it will also make flights cheaper and reduce their impact on the environment. Our shared commitment to work quickly and constructively will determine the ultimate success of the Single European Sky.”

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