14.08.2013 Aktualizacja: 21.08.2013

Single European Sky


Air transport is one of the main pillars of the European market providing employment to two million people, generating more than 130 billion euros to the European GDP and carrying 500 million passengers a year. Assuming steady traffic growth initiative, the European Commission has set the Single European Sky (SES) to achieve specific objectives:

  • 10-fold increase in safety,
  • 3-fold increase in throughput,
  • Reduce ATM fees by half,
  • Reducing the impact of a single flight on the environment by 10%.

Guarantee of achievement these goals by 2020 are the activities carried out under the supervision of the European Commission. These include legislative work, defragmentation of airspace based on FABs (Functional Airspace Blocks) and the introduction of air traffic management system (SESAR).


In order to plan and monitor progress in specific areas, the European Commission has created a performance scheme for air navigation services and network functions. It obliges the national supervisory authorities of the Member and Network Manager to develop performance plans based on the goals set for performance indicators in all four areas. These assumptions were based on forecasts doubling of air traffic by 2020. The level of total air traffic in Europe are now showing a downward trend (in the year 2012 was 4% lower compared to 2007). This phenomenon is unique because air traffic in Europe showed a constantly upward trend occasionally disturbed by exceptional events (terrorist attack on the WTC, the volcanic eruptions in Iceland). Although it manages to maintain an upward trend in the number of passengers resulting from the use of airplanes with more volume. However, both now and in case of return of upward trends in air traffic control capacity in certain sectors and major airports is insufficient, especially during peak hours. Now, under pressure from airspace users, apparent tendency to increase efficiency and reduce the cost flight navigation charges has been seen.


Despite the undeniable technical progress, European airspace is still organized as in the 60's, when the general air traffic was much smaller and dominated by bilateral agreements between countries. Air traffic control in Europe is still organized within national borders of sight divided by boundaries of airspace. This solution contributes to inefficient management space. Do not take into account the need to look at the traffic flow across borders more within functional airspace blocks. The first stage of implementation of the FAB ended December 4, 2012 the year of the entry into force of nine FAB initiatives. Currently, the European Commission is working on the further defragmentation of airspace and its effective use. This is due to the need to optimize the air navigation services.



The SESAR (Single European Sky ATM Research) is the technological pillar of the Single European Sky. Its aim is to develop a modern air traffic management system, that can handle the permanent growing volume of air operations while improving safety indicators, and reduce costs. The use of modern technologies and procedures will also help to reduce the negative impact of aviation on the environment.


The aim of the SESAR Programme is to move from the fragmentation of air traffic management in Europe to synchronize the activities of all those involved in the process.


The implementation of the SESAR program is divided into three parts:


1 Phase (SESAR Definition Phase) running from 2005 to 2008, led to the development of the Central Plan for Air Traffic Management in Europe (ATM Master Plan). The document was developed in collaboration with a number of the airline industry, define the scope of activities - from research and development to implementation - to be taken in order to achieve the ambitious goals of SESAR.

2 The development phase (SESAR Development Phase) running from 2008 to 2013, led to a precise definition of modern technology, system components, operational procedures as defined in the first phase of the SESAR program.

3 The deployment phase (SESAR Deployment Phase) planned for the years 2014 to 2020, will be based on the production and implementation of the operational use of modern ATM infrastructure, consisting of interoperable technologies that provide high efficiency of air transport in Europe.

Successful implementation of the SESAR program will contribute significantly to achieving in 2020 the following strategic SES objectives:


  • 3-fold increase in throughput
  • 10-fold improvement of safety indicators
  • 10% reduction in the negative impact of aviation on the environment
  • 50% reduction in the cost of ATM


Under Council Regulation 219/2007 of 27 February 2007 established the SESAR Joint Undertaking (SESAR Joint Undertaking), according to Art. 187 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union was set up to manage the activities undertaken during the development phase. Joint Undertaking is a public-private partnership whose founding members are the EU and Eurocontrol, thereby streamlining and coordinating the activities of the project throughout the EU by adopting an approach focused on effective implementation. A joint venture can collect and combine the funds and know-how, bridging the fragmentation caused by the implementation of similar projects at national and regional level and the skills and innovative potential of the private sector in the relevant regulations on risk-sharing with the public.


The SESAR Joint Undertaking is responsible for:


  • organizing and coordinating the development phase of the SESAR project in accordance with the central plan for air traffic management
  • providing the necessary funds by pooling public and private sector and management,
  • implement and update master plan for air traffic management
  • organizing the technical work - in terms of research and development, validation and analysis - to be carried out under its supervision, while avoiding fragmentation of such activities
  • ensuring the participation of stakeholders in the Air Traffic Management (providers of air navigation service users, staff associations, airports, manufacturing industry, as well as scientific and research institutions)
  • ensuring the supervision of activities related to the development of common products duly identified in the ATM Master Plan, and - if necessary - to organize specific invitations


The SESAR Joint Undertaking is an EU body with legal personality and financed from contributions from members, including private companies. The EU contribution comes from the budget of the Framework Programmes for Research and Technological Development and trans-European networks. It consists of 16 companies, including managing airports, providers of air navigation services, aviation equipment manufacturers, aircraft manufacturers. Polish Air Navigation Services Agency is an associate member of the SJU. The Civil Aviation Authority has appointed its expert responsible for working with the SJU on regulatory issues and validation work.

Currently, the implementation of SESAR is to conduct validation activities, the development of technology components and operational procedures planned for the years 2008 - 2014 in the Central Air Traffic Management Plan. The activities are divided into 16 work packages, the realization of their objectives is to provide specific, tangible results. Within each package will be developed appropriate technical and operational materials (specifications, procedures, prototypes, validation reports).


The activities are divided into four thematic areas:


1 Operational activities (WP 4, 5, 6, 7)
2 Activities related to the construction of the system (WP 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15)
3 SWIM (System Wide Information Management) - (WP 8, 14)
4 Cross-cutting activities - validation infrastructure, development of safety, aviation security, environmental protection, human resources, updating the ATM Master Plan (WP 3, 16)

The SESAR Joint Undertaking established Scientific Committee, whose mission is to strengthen innovation and scientific approach to the construction of air traffic management in Europe. The Committee, which consists of high-level scientists, will conduct a detailed analysis of selected aspects of the implementation of the SESAR program, such as economics, statistics, mathematics, computing, physical, technological, and those related to human resources. The activities of the Scientific Committee shall also ensure better communication between the scientific / academic and the wider aviation industry.



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