Single European Sky


New challenges in the air transportation, such as reduction of delays, improvement of safety standards, lowering of the air services costs and reduction of aviation environmental footprint, proved to be too demanding for the existing European airspace due to the fragmentation and inefficiency of the European air traffic management systems and related air navigation services. In order to respond to those challenges, the EU member states have launched the so-called Single European Sky (SES) initiative in 2004. The aim of the initiative was to establish air traffic management that would disregard national borders and create single European airspace, while achieving following objectives:

a) Improve safety performance by a factor of 10,
b) A three-fold increase in capacity where needed,
c) Reduce the costs of ATM services to airspace users by 50 %,
d) A 10% reduction in the effects flight have on the environment.

Regulatory framework for the implementation of SES consisted of four regulations:

  1. Regulation (EC) 549/2004laying down the framework for the creation of Single European Sky,
  2. Regulation (EC) 550/2004on the provision of air navigation services in the single European sky
  3. Regulation (EC) 551/2004on the organisation and use of airspace in the single European sky, and
  4. Regulation (EC) 552/2004on the interoperability if the European Air Traffic Management network.

SES 1 regulatory package was amended in 2009 (SES 2) when competence – based mechanisms were introduced (Regulation (EC) 1070/2009).

Finally, in order to contribute to the sustainable development of air transport system and improvement of the overall efficiency of the air navigation services, the SES Performance Scheme will be developed. Regulation (EU) No 390/2013 laying down performance scheme for air navigation services and network functions (SL L 128, 9.5.2013) defines that the performance plans for the following reference period should be established on the level of functional airspace blocks.