The European Commission has announced €600 million of new funding to unblock congestion in Europe’s airspace. The Commission is looking to head off a capacity crunch as the number of flights is forecast to increase by 50% over the next 10-20 years. The goal is to develop the new technology needed to deliver Europe’s Single Sky – the ambitious project to reform Europe’s airspace, doubling capacity and halving air traffic management costs.
Inefficiencies in Europe’s fragmented airspace bring extra costs of close to Eur5 billion each year to airlines and their customers. They add 42 kilometres to the distance of an average flight forcing aircraft to burn more fuel, generate more emissions, pay more in costly user charges and suffer greater delays. TheUnited Statescontrols the same amount of airspace, with more traffic, at almost half the cost.
This research is critical to delivering the Single European Sky, the flagship project to create a single European airspace – tripling capacity and halving air traffic costs. It will continue to be managed by the Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research (SESAR) Joint Undertaking (JU) – whose mandate will be prolonged for a further 8 years, until 2024.
The research aims to make flying cleaner, cheaper and safer. The new funding will focus on
* Developing means to allow airlines to fly their preferred (and more direct) routes, using new technologies for data exchange between air and ground;
* Integrating new types of aircraft, such as drones, in the air traffic management system;
* Optimising traffic management, in particular on the ground; for example to make the access to and exit from the runways more efficient and safer in all weather conditions.
The project involves more than 2500 experts covering the full range of air traffic management (ATM) expertise. Their work on coordinated ATM related research will continue, as well as development and validation activities, including large scale demonstrations.