On 21 October 2009 a far-reaching aviation package – the Single European Sky II package - was adopted after the positive vote in the European Parliament in March before, and confirmation by the Transport Ministers. This package strengthens the Single European Sky initiatives, making the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) responsible for all safety aspects of civil aviation and boosting the implementation of new technologies.
As a package, these measures will deliver safer, greener and more cost-efficient flying. Annual savings for airlines is calculated at around four billion Euros. At the same time, the ATM Master Plan will put European manufacturing industry at the forefront of innovation in air traffic management technology. Furthermore, the plan will restructure European airspace as a function of air traffic flows, should create additional capacity and increase the overall efficiency of the air traffic management system.
The Single European Sky II package consists of several pillars:
The safety pillar provides for increased responsibilities for EASA (see also Regulation EC 1108/2009). This would ensure precise, uniform and binding rules for aerodrome operations and operators, air traffic management and air navigation service provision. Moreover, sound oversight of the implementation of these rules by Member States will be assured by EASA standardisation inspections. These new competences taken on by the EASA system allow a more comprehensive and uniform approach to safety regulation across all fields of aviation and ensure that common safety rules are applied in all phases of flight, starting from the tarmac.
Other parts of the initiative that are equally important but do not fall under EASA's remit, are the following:
The performance pillar of the package introduces several enhancements to the original SES legislation (see the new SES II legislation). Indicators for the various performance areas shall be developed by an independent performance review body, and Community-wide targets on delay, cost reduction, shortening of routes, and other elements, shall be adopted by the European Commission. NSAs shall adopt national targets consistent with the European-wide targets. For further information, please refer to the SES site of the European Commission
The technological pillar focuses on introducing state-of-the-art technology. The SESAR programme brings together all aviation stakeholders to develop, validate and deploy a new generation, Europe-wide air traffic management system. For further information, please refer to the SESAR Joint Undertaking site.
The airport capacity pillar tackles the shortage of runways and airport facilities, which currently threatens to develop into a major bottleneck. The new package places environmental issues at the core of the Single European Sky and improved air traffic management aims at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from aviation. For further information, please refer to the SES site of the European Commission.