NATS joins leading group of air traffic bodies reshaping EU airspace

12 June 2009

The project to transform Europe’s airspace and its management by 2020 has successfully reached a critical new stage.

NATS is one of six air navigation service providers (ANSPs) which have joined together to achieve the goals of the SESAR project to harmonise air space management.

The others are DFS (Germany), AENA (Spain), DSNA (France), ENAV (Italy) and NORACON (Northern Europe and Austria).

Known as the A6, they are working with airlines, airports and manufacturers, in the SESAR Joint Undertaking, which has a total of 16 partners. They are shaping a system capable of handling a forecast doubling of traffic, while increasing safety and cutting emissions by ten per cent in the next 11 years, as well as cutting airline air traffic management costs in half.

Every partner has contributed skills and investment towards a total of 500m euros to go with the European Commission and Eurocontrol outlay of 700m euros each. This scale of funding represents a significant shift in the status of SESAR.

NATS’ Director of Development and Investment Ian Hall said: “This is the only opportunity to transform airspace management across Europe in order make it fit for what will still be a future when more flights will take place.

“It is vital that we join with every other expert in this sector to ensure those flights are managed even more safely, even more efficiently and in a more environmentally responsible way.

“We are proud to be recognised for our expertise in air traffic management and, like every other partner, we have committed our own commitment and skills-base to a vision which will improve air travel across the EU for everyone.”

Defining what SESAR would need to do to transform ATM across Europe took from 2005 to 2008. Now sees the development phase for these agreed concepts up to 2013. Between then and 2020, new technology and procedures will be deployed.

They include trajectory-based operation, whereby airlines can fly the most direct, efficient route; full sharing of all data across the aviation spectrum and increased automation support for air traffic controllers and pilots.

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