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The Single European Sky - ground-breaking collaboration appointed to transform Europe’s airspace

SDAG Group Of Airports : 29 December, 2014  (Technical Article)
The modernisation of European airspace has taken a major step forward with the appointment of a unique aviation industry partnership to coordinate and synchronise €3bn worth of upgrades to the continent’s air traffic management infrastructure.
The European Commission has tasked the SESAR (Single European Sky ATM Research) Deployment Alliance, an unprecedented cross industry partnership made up of four airline groups, operators of 25 airports and 11 air traffic control providers, to plan and coordinate a wholesale modernisation of European airspace, making it fit for the 21st Century. It has been appointed to the European Commission-mandated role of SESAR Deployment Manager.
Europe’s fragmented airspace structure is inefficient and costs more to operate than equivalent regions around the world. The European Commission’s Single European Sky initiative, of which SESAR deployment is an important pillar, will improve efficiency, lower delays and raise environmental performance.
The modernisation is not only vital for the future competitiveness of Europe’s aviation industry, but for the wider health of its economy.  Aviation supports 11.7 million jobs in Europe, equating to one person in every 40 people employed, generating €452 billion per annum of European GDP.
However, with air traffic forecast to increase by 50% by 2035 to approximately 14.4 million flights, Europe’s aging air traffic control technologies and infrastructure will begin to undermine its position as a leading aviation hub if nothing is done to address it.
The SESAR Deployment Manager will ensure that new technologies and solutions that have already been tested and validated through the SESAR Joint Undertaking are delivered into everyday operations across Europe, delivering significant benefits to airspace users and the environment. The SESAR Deployment Alliance, comprised of the A6 Alliance of ANSPs, the A4 airlines and the SESAR-related Deployment Airport Operators Group (SDAG), will coordinate and synchronise for an initial 6-year period the work of ensuring Europe maintains its competitive edge.
The appointment of the SESAR Deployment Alliance will be confirmed at a signing ceremony in Brussels later today. Richard Deakin, Chief Executive of UK ANSP NATS, on behalf of the SESAR Deployment Alliance, will sign the Framework Partnership Agreement with Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc.
Commissioner Violeta Bulc said: "Today's agreement is a great achievement for EU aviation, forever changing Europe's air navigation system, making it smarter, cheaper, greener, and safer. It also marks an important step towards the accomplishment of the Single European Sky. These projects will translate into economic benefits for the whole EU with a contribution of over €400 bn to its GDP, the creation of over 300,000 new jobs and saving 50 million tons of CO2 emissions."
Deakin added: “Today is a landmark day both for the Single European Sky and for European aviation. This collaboration shows how committed all of us in the industry are to working together to modernise Europe’s airspace. We are all passionate about ensuring Europe’s aviation industry remains successful and this is a major step forward.”
Massimo Garbini, the former CEO of Italian ANSP ENAV, has been appointed Managing Director of the SESAR Deployment Alliance. He commented: “We are pleased that the Commission has selected this unique cross-industry collaboration to drive the essential ATM modernisation of European airspace. I guarantee that we will do everything we can to deliver the results Europe needs”.
The Single European Sky is one of the European Commission’s main transport initiatives, designed to improve the way we manage Europe’s airspace so as to minimise fuel burn, reduce unnecessary costs and make the most of Europe’s airport capacity.
The SESAR Deployment Alliance is a partnership of leading airlines, airports and air navigation service providers – the managers and users of Europe’s airspace. They are committed to the principle of the Single European Sky and to deploying the technologies that will deliver it to create customer and environmental efficiencies. 
The partners are:
A6 Deployment Manager Alliance - The A6 Deployment Manager Alliance is formed of five ANSP members of the SESAR JU – , DFS (Germany), DSNA (France), ENAIRE(Spain), ENAV (Italy) and NATS (UK), working with PANSA of Poland and a group representing ANSPs members of the COOPANS alliance including AustroControl (Austria), Croatia Control, IAA (Ireland), LFV (Sweden) and Naviair (Denmark).  Collectively, they control more than 70% of European air traffic and 72% of the investment in the future European ATM infrastructure. Five of Europe’s nine Functional Airspace Blocks (FABs) – the geographic pillar of SES - are also represented within the A6 DM Alliance. The A6 DM Alliance is focused on SESAR deployment, SESAR deployment execution (planning, governance, funding), and key strategic areas of A6 common interest related to transport and aviation legislation and engagement with industry stakeholders. For more information on the A6 Alliance go to
A4 Airlines
Air France-KLM group, easyJet, IAG and Lufthansa Group, the four airline members of the EC’s Aviation Platform, created the A4 Group of Airlines at the end of 2012. Their aim is to help accelerate operational improvements in ATM and to coordinate airline participation in the SESAR Deployment Manager to ensure performance driven implementation of new ATM procedures and technologies.
Air France-KLM group, IAG and Lufthansa Group together represent more than 588,357 million revenue passenger kilometres of a total 836,556 million within AEA[1]. EasyJet is the second largest low cost carrier in Europe and represents more than 1200 flights of a total 4361 flights within ELFAA[2].
For more information on the member airlines of the A4, go to:
Further information can be found on the SESAR Deployment Alliance website,, which launched today.
For any queries please contact Freek De Witte, Head of Stakeholder Relations for the SESAR Deployment Alliance, on 0032 49 766 0278.
SDAG Group of Airports
The SESAR-related Deployment Airport Group (SDAG) includes a group of 25 airports from among those represented by Airports Council International (ACI) and that are in the scope of the Pilot Common Project.
The SDAG is committed to ensuring that airports implement enhancements that deliver performance improvement and make the necessary investment; to safeguarding that technologies and procedures have proven benefit; and to delivering coordinated deployment together with ANSPs and airlines to allow for rapid return on investment.
ACI Europe represents over 450 airports in 45 European countries. In 2013, their member airports handled over 90% of commercial air traffic in Europe, welcoming more than 1.7 billion passengers, 17.8 million tonnes of freight and 20.7 million aircraft movements.
For more information on Airports Council International go to


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