On 19 November 2012, defence ministers from Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, German, Greece, the Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia, Sweden and Norway signed a technical arrangement regarding diplomatic clearances for participants’ military transport aircraft in their respective national airspace or territory.
The arrangement describes common provisions and harmonised procedures for overflights and landings and enables Member States to operate without the need to submit diplomatic clearances requests for each flight, including support to on-going operations and transportation of IATA/ICAO compliant dangerous goods. This simplified mechanism can be seen as a significant step forward to more flexible and effective military airlift operations in Europe. Also included in this technical arrangement is a common clearances request and notification form which will further enhance harmonisation of the entire mechanism.
Freedom of movement
The agreement clearly improves the freedom of movement of EU military registered transport aircraft transiting national boundaries within the EU. The existing disparate requirements to obtain diplomatic clearances to land or overfly an EU member state cause delays and effectively hampers swift airlift operations. This legacy mechanism needs to be tailored to the 21st century’s requirements, especially looking at the future implementation of the Single European Sky (SES) in the coming years, where a route driven system will evolve into a trajectory driven system. The technical arrangement is still open for signature until 1 June 2013.
Background and way forward
The European Air Transport Fleet partnership signed by 20 Member States in 2011under the auspices of the European Defence Agency is looking at augmenting the availability of military airlift in the EU and developing concrete solutions to increase its efficiency and effectiveness.
The EDA ad hoc working group diplomatic clearances that developed this technical arrangement will continue to work on different diplomatic clearance issues, including harmonisation of clearances for EU military transport aircraft outside the EU.