Single European Sky

Jan 11, 2016

Start Date: 2010
End Date: n/a.
Participating Countries: all
Other partners:  Eurocontrol, SESAR Joint Undertaking .

Europe has the world’s busiest skies - with up to 50 000 flights crossing European air space each day. This demand is set to continue expanding for the foreseeable future. Despite this expanding demand, Europe’s air traffic management (ATM) remains stuck in the past. In order to bring European Air Traffic Management into the 21st century the idea of creating a Single European Sky has been pushed since 1999. The project aims to organise airspace into functional blocks, based on traffic flows rather than national borders. In these areas and others it is important to ensure that the viewpoints and needs of EU Member States’ militaries are considered: after all military pilots share the same sky as their civilian counterparts. In order to ensure that the effects on military aviation are understood and taken into account, Member States have set the European Defence Agency a series of different tasks relating to the project.

Project goals

  • Ensure that the views and interests of Member States armed forces are taken into account with creation of Single European Sky
  • Evaluate the operational risks and financial implications of SES for military aviation
  • Facilitating the coordination of military views from and in support of Member States and relevant military organisations and to inform military planning mechanisms of the requirements stemming from SESAR deployment.

Detailed description of the project 

The Agency was originally given responsibility at its Steering Board in November 2010 to evaluate the operational risks and financial implications of the Single European Sky for military aviation. This role was further extended in May 2013 with the adoption of an implementing regulation that set the ground for EDA work at the policy level of SESAR (the joint public private partnership in charge of implementation of SES). The regulation provided EDA with the task of facilitating the coordination of military views from and in support of Member States and relevant military organisations and to inform military planning mechanisms of the requirements stemming from SESAR deployment.

To support this work a programme was launched by 22 Member States on the “Military Implementation of SESAR.” This included the establishment of a dedicated SESAR cell, composed of four national experts from the contributing Member States, to provide in-house expertise at EDA. They coordinate with MODs to ensure that the military views and requirements are taken into account in the implementation of SESAR. 

The Single European Sky is a huge and complex project, it is essential that the views and implication for all users and stakeholders are taken into account. The European Defence Agency has been recognised as the place to coordinate military inputs for SESAR. In order to ensure that this feedback reflects the interests of all military stakeholders a three-step consultation mechanism with NATO and EUROCONTROL has been established, so that a consolidated position can be provided to the Commission. This runs alongside the SES/SESAR Military Implementation Forum (SMIF) which includes NATO nations, the European Commission, EUROCONTROL and SESAR JU. This coordinated approach has already proved useful in the first batch of SESAR to be implemented - the Pilot Common Project (PCP). 

As the Single European Sky evolves, EDA’s role will too. Already EDA is looking to generate collaborative research projects based on the PCP with the possibility of obtaining funding from the European Commission. EDA will also look at mitigation measures as alternative means of compliance or equivalence for its Member States’ militaries based on performance requirements stemming from the assessment of the implications of SES and SESAR.


Related publications

  

Participating Member States

  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Czech
  • Germany
  • Estonia
  • Ireland
  • Greece
  • Spain
  • France
  • Croatia
  • Italy
  • Cyprus
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Hungary
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Austria
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovenia
  • Slovakia
  • Finland
  • Sweden
  • UK