German air navigation service provider DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung, which has criticized air traffic management (ATM) performance targets sought by the European Commission, announced 2013 results showing improved management of Germany’s airspace, which has Europe’s highest traffic volume.
Single European Sky
The European Parliament, meeting in plenary session in Strasbourg, approved the amended Single European Sky (SES) legislation known as SES 2+ on March 12. The legislation now must be approved by European Union member states.
The Sesar Joint Undertaking (SJU) administrative board has named Florian Guillermet to head the Brussels-based organization leading the Single European Sky ATM research effort. Guillermet’s appointment becomes effective April 1 subject to the completion of administrative procedures, the board said.
Facing the demands of increasing air traffic capacity and operational efficiency, the countries of the Asia Pacific region have launched various programs to adopt recent advances in Air Traffic Management and advances inavionics technology over the past couple of decades. Some countries (notably Australia) have forged ahead, while others are further behind, but it is hoped that recent developments could see closer cooperation for an eventual move to a whole-area solution.
The trade unions association that planned and then called off a Europe-wide ATC strike last October has scheduled a new job action on January 29 to express its displeasure with proposed amendments to Single European Sky (SES) legislation. The new strike planned by the Air Traffic Controllers European Unions Coordination (ATCEUC) will dovetail with another job action the European Transport Workers Federation (ETF) plans the following day.
Eurocontrol’s Maastricht Upper Area Control Center last week introduced a system to dynamically manage upper airspace to suit traffic flow. The new variable division flight level (VDFL) enables a flexible distribution of traffic between upper and lower sectors (from 24,500 feet to unlimited), by altering the division flight level to match changing traffic patterns. The division flight level between the upper and lower sectors was previously fixed at 33,500 feet.
Air navigation service providers (ANSPs) from 10 Eastern and Central European countries signed a cooperation agreement earlier this month to create a regional entity with a stronger voice in Europe’s air traffic management decision-making process. The association covers airspace managed by three smaller groupings of adjoining countries known as functional airspace blocks (FABs), in this case the Baltic, Danube and Central Europe FABs.
The Middle East needs to prepare to handle increased air traffic congestion over the next few years, especially in the Gulf region; however, forming a central body to coordinate the necessary changes and harmonization is proving difficult.
The new executive director at the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), Patrick Ky, sees the agency’s role paradoxically heightened by national budget cuts. During a recent interview with AIN near EASA headquarters in Cologne, Germany, he explained that most member states–even Germany–had seen nationwide monitoring missions severely affected. Countries such as the Czech Republic, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania have cut jobs in administration, he added.
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