Single European Sky
In recent years, the yearly total cost, including the cost of inefficiencies, for the ATM service provision in Europe has constantly increased to around €15 billion per year. More than one third of these costs can be attributed to the inefficiency of the system, mainly as a result of huge fragmentation.
The SES-II package (Regulation 1070/2009) was a reply to the long-standing plea of airspace users to redress the imbalance of the relationship between a fully liberalized sector and its monopoly ATM service providers. It features the following elements:
- the establishment of a Performance Scheme that will impose binding efficiency targets on the network as a whole, as well as on each individual Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP), at national or at Functional Airspace Block (FAB) level.
- the European Commission’s responsibility to fix the EU-wide targets and to verify that the national or FAB targets are consistent with network-wide targets.
The SES-II package was completed by:
- the extension of European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA)’s competences to ATM.
- the endorsement of the Master Plan for SESAR, the technical implementation programme for the Single European Sky.
The Performance Scheme of SES-II should be instrumental in achieving the cost-effectiveness objective of SESAR, i.e. reducing by half the cost per flight from a level of €800 (in 2005) to €400 by 2020.
Sets of implementing rules for Regulation 1070/2009 were adopted (comitology):
- Performance Scheme IR (EU Regulation 691/2010), including provisions on:
- performance targets and plans;
- the European Commission’s assessment and monitoring, and
- the collection, evaluation and dissemination of performance information
- Charging Regulation IR on July 2010
- Network Manager Implementing regulation on February 2011.
The Single Sky Committee adopted EU-wide targets in December 2010 for the performance reference period (RP1) starting on 01 January 2012 and ending on 31 December 2014.
According to their obligations, EU Member States have introduced in 2011 their Performance Plans for the period 2012-2014. The Performance Review Body assisted the Commission to these plans and concluded that unfortunately these targets will not be met.
There are two critical issues for IACA:
1. The cost-effectiveness of the system: ANSPs are natural monopolies and must be subject to independent and effective economic regulation. The SES-II performance scheme is the first European economic regulation aimed at delivering improvements in the ATM service provision.
2. The de-fragmentation of the European airspace: this implies that there needs to be a consolidation of service providers. This will only happen when Member States finally accept the consequences of their political commitment to the Single European Sky.
IACA had great expectations following the adoption of the SES-II package that ANSPs would be properly regulated as monopolies and that ambitious targets would be set on them to encourage a cost-effective behaviour.
IACA is severely disappointed that most of the 29 member states that are subject to the performance scheme are not complying with the initial targets proposed by the Commission.
The second performance reference period, RP2, for the Single European Sky project will start in 2015. This should have provided IACA and the airspace users’ associations with an opportunity to improve the deliverables of the performance scheme.
The European Commission submitted a new draft of the Charging and the Performance regulations to the Single Sky Committee in December. This draft was broadly in line with the airspace users’ legitimate expectations. However, the resistance of the Member States was such that the European Commission had to back-track and submit another draft. IACA is extremely concerned and disappointed with this draft, which is radically different and weaker compared to the previous draft. It reinstates a number of damaging provisions such as an even broader concept of uncontrollable costs and allows Terminal Navigation Charges to remain outside the scope of the performance regulation until 2017.
If this proposal is adopted by the Single Sky Committee, it means that no real improvements of the ATM cost-effectiveness in Europe can be expected before 2020. This is clearly unacceptable for IACA and the other airlines associations which have jointly requested that Commissioner Kallas withdraw the Commission’s proposal.
- Press release, 14 February 2013: AEA, AEA, EBAA, ELFAA, ERA and IACA: The implementation of Single European Sky is once again in jeopardy
- Press release, 4 December 2012: Airline industry condemns EU Member States on lack of progress on FABs to date
- Press release, 11 October 2012: IACA: Final call for SES Implementation
- Press release, 11 October 2012: The Airspace Users' Community Calls for Action on Single European Sky
- Press release, 16 November 2011: Airline Associations: Member States must stop procrastinating on Single European Sky