The Single European Sky (SES) is one of the most strategic files in aviation. It not only deals with the technical aspects of safety, global interoperability, automation and separation issues, but it also addresses the restructuring of the institutional environment and the future safety governance of aviation in the European Union.
At the end of 2007, the Commission published a mid-term review of the "Single European Sky I". It summarised the last four years of work to create a seamless, modern and efficient upper airspace in Europe. It reviewed the sixty million Euro project (SESAR) to create a master plan for the new skies, the creation of a new agency (SESAR Joint Undertaking), the conclusions of the High Level Group which addressed, inter-alia, governance and the future regulatory framework. Most importantly, the Commission communicated its intention to push ahead with the second package of "Single European Sky II" by June 2008. At the same time, the Commission has sped up the process to extend EASA's mandate to ATM and is commencing work to restructure Eurocontrol's mandate to fit into the new SES horizon.
Throughout all of these developments, ECA has maintained a high profile by proactively addressing the technical challenges and the institutional developments to ensure full account of pilots’ requirements. In this work, ECA closely cooperates with the controllers and the air traffic engineers and together, the professional staff organizations share a rotating seat on the Administrative Board of the SESAR Joint Undertaking.
At this crucial stage, ECA and its professional controller counterpart, IFATCA, are proactively providing advice to the Commission on the content of the Single European Sky, II Package, currently under draft. ECA advocates for a robust top down safety regulatory structure, adequate address of ICAO's key performance indicators, a change management plan and a more in-depth study of the proposed economic regulation.
To further strengthen our work, ECA urgently need additional volunteers to help with Air Traffic Management and to represent pilots on these complex files.