10.7: SESAR concept
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Single European Sky
Contrary to the United States, Europe does not have a single sky, one in which air navigation is managed at the European level. Furthermore, European airspace is among the busiest in the world with over 33,000 flights on busy days and high airport density. This makes air traffic control even more complex. The EU Single European Sky is an ambitious initiative launched by the European Commission in 2004 to reform the architecture of European air traffic management. It proposes a legislative approach to meet future capacity and safety needs at a European rather than a local level. The Single European Sky is the only way to provide a uniform and high level of safety and efficiency over Europe’s skies. The key objectives are to :
- Restructure European airspace as a function of air traffic flows;
- Create additional capacity; and
- Increase the overall efficiency of the air traffic management system.
The major elements of this new institutional and organizational framework for ATM in Europe consist of: separating regulatory activities from service provision, and the possibility of cross-border ATM services; reorganizing European airspace that is no longer constrained by national borders; setting common rules and standards, covering a wide range of issues, such as flight data exchanges and telecommunications.
As part of the Single European Sky initiative, SESAR (Single European Sky ATM Research) represents its technological dimension. It will help create a paradigm shift, supported by state-of-the-art and innovative technology. The SESAR program will give Europe a high-performance air traffic control infrastructure which will enable the safe and environmentally friendly development of air transport. The goals of SESAR are:
- triple capacity of the system;
- increase safety by a factor of 10;
- reduce environmental impact by 50%; and
- reduce the overall cost of the system by 50%.
We will not cover more details of SESAR in this course. The reader is referred to SESAR,19 and the master plan in SESAR Consortium  for more information on SESAR.