A September ICAO NextGen/Sesar Forum in Montreal underscored the fact that the U.S. and Europe are following different paths to a future air traffic management system. Officials managing the FAA’s NextGen and Europe’s Sesar–for Single European Sky ATM Research–agree that by 2025 traffic is expected to double, and maybe even triple, and that today’s control systems will not be able to handle the increase.
Single European Sky
“Rumors of our death are greatly exaggerated,” according to European Regions Airline Association (ERA) director-general Mike Ambrose. However, the industry is facing major obvious challenges, including “high fuel prices, worldwide economic crisis, loss of consumer confidence, falling traffic and severely reduced prospects for growth and profitability even in traditionally strong markets.”
European Regions Airline Association members face three “front-line” issues as they prepare for their annual general assembly in Manchester, England, this month: the environment, the so-called Single European Sky (SES) and safety regulation. Director-general Mike Ambrose concedes that the industry’s concerns haven’t changed much over the past year, but the scrutiny on these topics has become “more intense” since the last general assembly.
On May 6, a long-term solution to Europe’s air traffic control congestion problems came a giant step closer with the launch of the Single European Sky (SES) development phase.
In a briefing sponsored by the Flight Safety Foundation in Wash- ington last month, David McMillan, director general of Eurocontrol, told aviation media that the European Union’s Single European Sky ATM Research (Sesar) program must have similar systems to the FAA’s NextGen to ensure interoperability.
The European Commission’s director for air transport, Daniel Calleja, pledged more “proportionate” rules for business aviation in the future, acknowledging that this segment of air transport has “too often been neglected in the past.” Here at EBACE during yesterday’s opening session, other speakers included EBAA CEO Eric Mandemaker, who insisted on the association’s participation in the environmental debate, and his U.S.
The SESAR (Single European Sky ATM Research) program to define and implement a new air traffic management system for the Single European Sky (SES) presents an opportunity for all stakeholders to work together to develop a common concept of operations (ConOps, in Eurocontrol jargon).
“Aviation is emerging from the most difficult period in its history to date. This recovery is still fragile. It is under pressure from fuel costs, uncertain stability in regions, military conflicts, international terrorism and changes in the business model by low-cost carriers.
Honeywell last month announced it has joined two European technology research programs, one intended to improve air traffic flow management across the continent and the other aimed at developing low-cost flight controls for light airplanes.
Two years on from the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Europe’s regional airlines are still struggling to recover from some of the toughest business conditions they’ve ever seen. But the European Commission (EC) keeps kicking them while they’re down, according to Mike Ambrose, director general of the European Regions Airline Association (ERA).