The European Parliament is proposing that the EU’s airspace be unified based on the idea of a “Single European Sky,” according to an announcement published by the Parliament.
At the time of writing this article, European airspace is divided up between each Member State, making the air traffic control and flight planning needlessly complex. This complexity results in more/longer flight delays, inefficient flight routes, and excess CO2 emissions in the airline industry. All of these inefficiencies also cost travelers vast sums of money.
Under the proposed framework, European airspace will be unified with the following goals in mind:
Streamlining European airspace management
By streamlining the management of European airspace, there will be less fragmentation of air routes, resulting in more direct flights.
The parliament supports streamlining this process by setting up independent national supervisory authorities (NSAs). NSAs will be responsible for economic licenses to operate to air navigation service providers and airport operators. In addition, NSAs will implement airspace management performance plans that will be set by the new Performance Review Body under the EU Safety Aviation Agency (EASA).
Creating Greener Flights
The Single European Sky should follow the Green Deal and contribute to the goal of climate neutrality with up to a 10% reduction in climate-impacting emissions, as stressed by the Parliament’s Transport and Tourism Committee.
The idea is that reducing inefficiencies in airspace management and the airline industries will help to reach the EU’s climate-related emissions goals.
Parliament also proposes that the charges levied on airlines and private plane operators for air navigation services should encourage them to be more environmentally friendly by promoting alternative clean propulsion technologies.
Opening up the market
Parliament is proposing that Member States create more competition between air-traffic controllers and other airspace-related services by choosing air-traffic service providers through competitive selection process. This notion will be waived if the selection process would result in cost inefficiency, operational, climate, or environment loss, or inferior working conditions.
Parliament is proposing the idea of a Single European Sky in order to help streamline the airspace industry, create more cost efficiency, and create better conditions for climate progress.
“Europe’s current airspace architecture is built according to national borders. This aviation nationalism means longer flights, more delays, extra costs for passengers, higher emissions, and more pollution. With a truly Single European Sky and a unified European air management system, we would create a new airspace architecture based not on borders but on efficiency. Unfortunately, the position adopted recently by the Council is based on national concerns. Therefore, we urge Member States to fly high, so we can finally address the problems of cost, fragmentation and emissions plaguing European aviation,” said European Parliament Rapporteur Marian-Jean Marinescu.
The Transport and Tourism Committee of Parliament passed the notion to move forward with negotiations and the eventual implementation of the Single European Sky with a vote of 39 in-favor, 7 against, and 2 abstentions.
The next steps moving toward a Single European Sky will likely happen in the Jun II or July session with inter-institutional talks with the European Council and EASA.