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Document 52011DC0014

REPORT FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE COUNCIL AND THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT on the intermediate evaluation of the SESAR Joint Undertaking and its progress on the execution of the European Air Traffic Management Master plan

/* COM/2011/0014 final */


REPORT FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE COUNCIL AND THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT on the intermediate evaluation of the SESAR Joint Undertaking and its progress on the execution of the European Air Traffic Management Master plan /* COM/2011/0014 final */


Brussels, 24.1.2011

COM(2011) 14 final


on the intermediate evaluation of the SESAR Joint Undertaking and its progress on the execution of the European Air Traffic Management Master plan


on the intermediate evaluation of the SESAR Joint Undertaking and its progress on the execution of the European Air Traffic Management Master plan


The Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research (SESAR) Programme is the technological pillar of the Single European Sky initiative[1]. SESAR has defined, is developing and will deploy a high quality, new generation of air traffic management (ATM) technologies, systems and procedures compliant with SES objectives and requirements ( SES technologies and procedures ). One of the key results of the SESAR definition phase is the European ATM Master plan ( Master plan ), which constitutes a commonly developed roadmap, endorsed by the Council of the EU and recognised by stakeholders, to achieve the deployment of a new generation of ATM technologies and procedures within the next 10-15 years. The Master plan steers the work programme for the development of these technologies and will be a key tool to govern their deployment.

The SESAR Programme is now in its development phase managed by the SESAR Joint Undertaking (SJU), the first ATM public-private partnership set up as an EU body. The SJU's mission is to ensure the modernisation of the European ATM system by coordinating and concentrating all the relevant research and development efforts in the EU. The SJU develops and validates the new generation of ATM technologies and procedures that will constitute SES technologies & procedures . The SJU is also responsible for the execution and the maintenance of the Master plan . Its founding members are the EU and Eurocontrol and it associates 15 industrial members and several other associate partners.

As required by the SJU Regulation [2], the Commission has carried out a first intermediate evaluation of the SJU in 2010 and shall present the results to the European Parliament and the Council. Furthermore, in its Resolution of 30.03.2009, the Council asked the Commission to report on the progress made by the SJU on the execution of the Master plan . This report addresses these two topics fulfilling the mentioned requirements.


The SESAR Programme is one of the most important research and development projects ever launched by the EU in the field of ATM. The SES provides the legal framework for more efficient, performance driven, safer and greener procedures for ATM. SESAR will provide technological solutions, functionalities, systems and proposals for standards that enable the achievement of the SES performance targets of tripling capacity, reducing ATM costs by half, improving safety by a factor of 10 and reducing the environmental impact of each flight by 10%.

SESAR is composed of three phases:

The definition phase

The definition phase (2005-2008) has defined the roadmap for the achievement of ATM performance levels and the establishment of a high level work plan that defines the content of the next generation of ATM systems identifying the necessary elements for its realisation. The definition phase was carried out by a consortium of 30 organisations representing a wide range of ATM stakeholders, under the technological coordination of Eurocontrol. The total cost of this phase was 60 million EUR financed in equal parts by the EU and Eurocontrol.

The development phase

The development phase (2008-2013) is developing the necessary elements on the basis of the results of the definition phase. The management of the development phase is entrusted to the SJU. The estimated cost of the development phase is 2.1 billion EUR and is financed by the members of the SJU combining public and private funds.

The deployment phase

The deployment phase (2013-2020) covers the large scale production and implementation of the new ATM infrastructure. This infrastructure will be based on the new technologies and procedures resulting from the development phase and will contribute to achieving SES objectives that will lead to high performance in European air transport. The cost of deployment is estimated to be 30 billion EUR[3] over the period 2008-2025.


The SJU is a public-private partnership with the statute of an EU body established in accordance with Article 187 of the Treaty on the functioning of the EU with a lifespan from 27.02.2007 to 31.12.2016. The SJU's mandate is to:

- Coordinate and concentrate all relevant ATM research in accordance with the Master plan

- Execute the Master plan

- Ensure the necessary funding of the development phase

- Ensure the involvement of the stakeholders

- Organise the technical work including the validation activities

- Ensure the supervision of the activities related to the development of common products

The executive decisions are taken by the Administrative Board, chaired by the Commission representing the EU. The Executive Director is responsible for day-to-day management of the SJU.

The EU and Eurocontrol, the founding members, have each committed 700 million EUR for the SJU. Half of the Union's contribution stems from the 7th Framework Programme for Research and Development and the other half from the multi-annual programme of the Trans-European Transport Network Programme. The industrial members, chosen through an open selection procedure, have also globally committed approximately 700 million EUR.

The SJU's work programme, covered by 17 work packages[4] and implemented through some 300 projects carried out by the SJU members and their associates, is divided into the following thematic areas:

1. Operational ATM research , including: en-route operations, terminal management areas operations, airport operations and networking operations

2. System research , including: aircraft systems, en-route & approach air traffic control systems, flight/wing operations centres and meteorological information services, airport systems, network information management system and non-avionics communication-navigation-surveillance systems

3. System Wide Information Management

4. Transversal activities : such as validation infrastructure, development of safety, security, environment and human performance cases, maintenance and updates of the Master plan , the target concept and its architecture

By focussing research and development activities, steering them towards deployment and actively involving stakeholders, the SJU provides an optimal response to the needs of the airspace users and service providers. The public-private partnership approach at EU level also ensures that the SES objectives of high societal relevance, such as safety and reducing CO2 emissions, are integrated and internalised in the Programme. This approach has allowed leveraging and pooling funds and know-how, thus reducing fragmentation created by similar national and regional projects. The SJU can harness the skills and innovation capacity of the private sector within appropriate risk sharing arrangements with the public sector. It is, however, important to ensure that SJU delivers in time the expected results to reduce risks for the deployment phase.

As development activities reach their cruising speed, the Commission will strengthen its oversight to ensure coherence with the SES objectives. In particular, the Commission shall ensure that the SJU, through the commitment and support of its members, takes measures to dispose of the necessary expertise, to set up adequate validation platforms and enable the launching of the deployment process and deliver early benefits.

From an international perspective, the SJU has become Europe's "technological ambassador" for promoting global ATM interoperability, opening also new opportunities for industry. A major step has been taken in this domain through the negotiation of a Memorandum of Cooperation between the EU and the USA in the field of civil aviation research and development. The Memorandum contains a specific Annex on cooperative actions supporting SESAR -NextGen [5] interoperability, which will be carried out for the EU side by the SJU.

The SJU has proven to be a flexible and dynamic instrument that supports an interactive relationship between development and deployment by being able to adapt to the needs of the services providers and users and to the evolving requirements of the SES as well as integrating evolutions of aircraft performance.

Results of the first intermediate evaluation of the SESAR Joint Undertaking

In accordance with Article 7 of the SJU Regulation , the Commission is required to carry out every three years evaluations on:

- the implementation of the SJU Regulation

- the results obtained by the SJU and its working methods

- the general financial situation of the SJU

The first evaluations were launched in March 2010 covering period from 27.02.2007 to 31.12.2009[6].

Approach of the evaluations

The Commission has carried out the first evaluations with the assistance of an external independent consultant, COWI A/S.

The evaluations are based on 5 standard evaluation criteria used by the Commission:

5. Relevance is the extent to which the SJU’s objectives are pertinent to the needs, problems and issues to be addressed

6. Effectiveness concerns the extent to which set objectives are achieved. This also includes the functioning of management structures and the way they support the organisation in delivering results

7. Efficiency measures the extent to which desired effects are achieved at a reasonable cost

8. Utility is the extent to which effects achieved correspond with the needs, problems and issues to be addressed. Considering the early stage of the SJU, only a very preliminary assessment of utility was made considering the progress of work and results achieved so far

9. Sustainability is the extent to which positive effects are likely to last after an intervention has terminated. As for the assessment of the “utility” of the SJU, the evaluation only addresses a preliminary analysis on the likely sustainability of the results to be achieved by the SJU

Data was mainly collected through the SJU's parent Directorate-General (DG Mobility and Transport) and a desk study conducted by COWI. This information has been complemented by an e-survey targeting the members of the SJU Administrative Board and the EU Member States (through the Single Sky Committee[7]) and individual and focus-group interviews conducted by COWI. Although the response rates were too low to allow full exploitation of the data collected, the results provide an indication of the main stakeholders’ perception of the SJU. In total 30 individual interviews and 3 focus-group interviews were carried out.

Results of the evaluations

The overall conclusion of the first intermediate evaluations is that the SJU performed well during the reference period in terms of setting up and developing its organisation as well as conducting its designated tasks. It also results that, in general, the SJU stakeholders are satisfied with its performance. The SJU's annual activity report 2009[8] provides a detailed description of the activities it has carried out and its financial situation over the reference period.

Implementation of the Regulation

The provisions of the SJU Regulation were appropriately implemented during the reference period, although with some delay in some cases. It is important to note that the amendment of the SJU Regulation, transforming the SJU into an EU body, slowed down the setup process, namely because of the need to adopt new financial rules, new staff contracts and accounting principles required for EU bodies.

Results obtained by the SJU and its working methods

In general, the SJU has implemented the planned activities and achieved the expected results. The general level of satisfaction of stakeholders with the SJU's work is high. Some of the key achievements during the reference period are:

- Gathering and committing stakeholders on a common R&D programme

- Developing the work programme that supports rationalisation and consistency, avoiding gaps and overlapping

- Developing the required methods and tools for programme implementation

- Initiating a number of projects within a short timeframe without compromising on the quality requirements and needs for coordination between work packages and projects

The SJU has shown good progress since its establishment and constitutes a solid base for the execution of the Master plan . The challenges facing the SJU relate to maintaining its capacity to coordinate all work-packages and projects and validate the deliverables.

The organisational structure is aligned with the tasks entrusted to the SJU. The staffing corresponds to its objective, there is a clear distribution of tasks and management systems and procedures are clearly defined. Financial management and audit capacity is in place, although some systems and support measures still needed to be implemented at the time of the evaluation.

There is a common awareness amongst SJU members of the importance of an efficient risk management framework that fully involves them in its establishment. An "Enterprise Risk Management Framework" is being developed and planned to be introduced in 2010.

Programme support and units responsible for the strategy and consistency in the execution of the Master plan are a large component of the SJU organisation. The use of a uniform Programme Management Plan ensures the application of the same methodology across projects leading to coherence and consistency of results, although its full potential is not yet achieved due to the early stage of the work programme implementation.

The communication processes and instruments should be further developed to meet the differentiated communication needs of the founding members, SJU members and other stakeholders, members and non-members of the Administrative Board.

The information and coordination at the Administrative Board is satisfactory, although some SJU members find that there has been too much focus on administrative matters and prefer to have more technical topics on the Board's agenda. This is due to the fact that during the reference period the SJU mainly dedicated efforts to its setup and few operational activities had been launched.

The data produced or collected by the SJU should be used to the fullest extent when producing cost benefit analysis for the deployment phase. This information should be integrated into the strategic communication exercises that give European policy makers the right tools for communicating on the socio-economic impact of the SESAR Programme as well as on mitigating actions.

Overall, the coordination between the SJU, its founding members and the selected members is satisfactory. The clear allocation of responsibilities between the SJU, founding members and selected members are based on the legal framework. The coordination between the two founding members is satisfactory and they seek to coordinate their input to the SJU Administrative Board. The monitoring and reporting arrangements between the SJU and the Commission are defined in a general agreement concluded in December 2009 and are satisfactory.

To ensure efficient and effective operations, as in any newly established organisation the SJU management should focus on building a common organisational culture to drive such an innovative PPP model.

Attractive training processes and instruments for members should be developed by the SJU and applied to increase overall capacity of members' staff working on the projects.

General financial situation

The SJU has implemented an appropriate framework complying with the SJU's financial rules and the principle of sound financial management. The Court of Auditors recently commented on the SJU financial rules highlighting some areas to be strengthened. A number of actions are being taken by SJU to implement these improvements.

All SJU members have formalised their financial commitments through appropriate agreements with the SJU:

- The Commission contributes 700 million EUR, entirely in cash

- Eurocontrol provides 700 million EUR in contribution, of which 535 million EUR in kind and 165 million EUR in cash

- The other members have committed a global amount of 537 million EUR of which 5% is provided in cash


Overall, the SJU Regulation and the SJU are assessed as highly relevant. This is based on the following conclusions:

- The data collected indicates that the SJU model is an appropriate implementation mechanism for the SESAR development phase and for the execution of the Master plan

- Given the complexity of the programme and the size of its budget, SESAR development requires a targeted administration and technical expertise recruited from various stakeholders. The stakeholders' perception is that the choice of the SJU instrument is justified

- The SJU's strategic objectives for 2012 and the annual work plans are aligned to the Master plan and with the tasks of the SJU

- The SJU is performing according to the requirements of the FP7 and TEN-T Programmes


The effectiveness of the SJU is assessed as high. In general, the SJU has performed its tasks and has delivered the required outputs and results as planned:

10. The set-up of the SJU was effective and timely. In particular, the SJU:

11. Constituted its Administrative Board, appointed the Executive Director and established its headquarters

12. adopted the Master plan on which it established its work programme

13. negotiated and concluded the membership agreements and the multi-lateral framework agreement, the general agreement with Commission and the specific agreement with Eurocontrol

14. recruited the main staff and established the necessary rules and procedures in conformity with EU Staff Regulations

15. The SJU finalised its transformation into an EU Body. Although this change of status has a significant positive impact on the SJU and the development phase, it somewhat delayed the completion of the SJU setup

16. The SJU has organised and is co-ordinating technical activities in accordance with the Master plan avoiding fragmentation and duplication of activities

17. The SJU has mobilised and managing funds from its members

18. The SJU has made efforts to involve a wide range of stakeholders through the membership process and by setting up the Scientific Committee and the Strategic performance partnership. Moreover, the Administrative Board introduced in 2010 the status of “associates”, which aims at enabling the SJU and its members to extend the participation in SJU activities to a broader range of stakeholders, in particular SMEs, research institutes and academia. Working arrangements have also been established with the National Supervisory Authorities and the European Aviation Safety Agency

19. The SJU has also developed its international cooperation by launching technical activities such as AIRE (Atlantic Interoperability Initiative to reduce emissions) and OPTIMI (Oceanic position tracking improvement and monitoring). SESAR-NextGen interoperability has also been undertaken and will be further carried out under a Memorandum of Cooperation between the EU and USA


Although it is too early to assess the overall efficiency of the SJU, the progress made during the reference period indicates that the SJU model has proven to be more efficient than if the SESAR development phase were to have been implemented through a conventional R&D call for proposals. The SJU has been very effective in bringing together the relevant stakeholders and coordinating ATM research efforts in the EU. The efficient implementation of the development phase largely depends on the SJU's coordinated management of the work packages and projects also ensuring economies of scale.

The data collected indicates that the SJU is functioning in an efficient manner when it comes to internal working procedures and management. Efficiency is expected to further increase when new IT systems, especially for financial management (ABAC/SAP), are implemented in 2010.


The collaboration established between stakeholders in the SJU sets a solid basis for contributing to achieving long-term sustainable benefits for air transport in support of the SES objectives. However, it is too early to judge if these conditions suffice to ensure long-term sustainability. The factors influencing the achievement of long-term objectives include:

- A regulatory framework in support of the deployment of technologies and procedures and the support of the regulatory authorities

- The buy-in of key actors (airspace users, relevant staff, airports, air navigation service providers, etc) to deploy and finance deployment of validated technologies and procedures

- The development of new ATM technologies in other regions and their convergence with European systems

- Future economic development and trends in demand for air travel


The Master plan is the commonly agreed roadmap maintained and executed by the SJU, for shifting to a new ATM operational concept to support SES objectives. It should be considered as the European reference for a stable and credible planning allowing the stakeholders to anticipate new functionalities aligning them with investment cycles and planning retrofit activities. The Master plan is a living document that covers both the development and the deployment phases of SESAR. It steers the work programme for the development phase and, similarly, the Master plan will be a key governance tool of the deployment phase.

Progress made by the SJU on the execution of the Master plan

The definition phase of SESAR set the basis for developing and implementing a new ATM concept, addressing R&D and validation activities followed by coordinated deployment. The main deliverable of the SESAR definition phase is the SESAR Master Plan that integrates areas of performance improvements, elements of the new ATM concept, cost benefit analysis and lays out the roadmap for the implementation of the operational improvements into a coherent work programme. In line with SJU Regulation , the SESAR Master Plan has been transferred from Eurocontrol to the SJU on 7.11.2008.

On 30.03.2009, the Council endorsed the SESAR Master Plan as the initial version of the Master plan providing the roadmap for the development and deployment phases of the SESAR programme. The Council also confirmed that ATM modernisation and the proposed timelines for its achievement remain a high political priority for the EU. The SJU Administrative Board adopted the Master plan on 12.06.2009.

Current level of execution

20. Development phase

The SJU's research and development activities were launched on 3.06.2009. One year later, 85% of the 300 projects have been launched with about 160 projects having started actual R&D work. For the most advanced projects the first deliverables have already been submitted to the SJU. Currently, through the SJU, 1500 experts from 16 members in 17 different States are working to develop and validate the future European ATM system.

Today's priority is achieving quick benefits from early results on information management, route assignment and guidance as well as on the airborne side of trajectory management. The SJU is expected to deliver the first validated technologies by early 2012.

21. Deployment phase

The Master plan currently defines 3 implementation packages which build upon each other:

- Implementation Package I (IP1) contains the basic validated functionalities and technologies of the SESAR operational concept that do not require further research and are available to be deployed. IP1 sets the baseline for the future deployment of more advanced functionalities

- Implementation Package II (IP2) is composed of ATM elements which need further research and development and that can be proposed for standardization and implementation as of 2014

- Implementation Package III (IP3) is composed of the most advanced elements of the SESAR operational concept allowing the full transition to the 4D trajectory management and time based aircraft operations, for deployment beyond 2020

At this stage of the programme only IP1 deployment is being performed by different ATM actors. All enablers for IP1 operational improvements have been validated and industrialized and are either ready for deployment or already deployed. IP1 aims at delivering short term improvements to the current European ATM system and at making it more coherent through implementation of best practices, better coordination and the preparation for trajectory and time based operations.

IP1 is a key deployment issue as any delay in the implementation of short term initiatives is a major risk for the SESAR programme. Responding to the urgent need to steer IP1 deployment, the Commission has set up an IP1 Steering Group under the auspices of the Single Sky Committee and with the support of Members States, the SJU, Eurocontrol and stakeholders. The group was established on 27.04.2010 as an ad-hoc working structure with the objective to oversee IP1 deployment. The IP1 Steering Group will make recommendations to the Commission, EU Member States, Eurocontrol, the SJU and private investors (Air navigation service providers, airlines, airports) to reduce any gaps between the deployment plan, as laid down in the Master plan, and the reality.

22. Master plan updates

The Council requested that the SJU should submit the first update of the Master plan by March 2010[9]. The SJU delivered the expected proposal to its Administrative Board, which discussed it on 30.04.2010. The scope of this first update was limited as it did not impact the overall planning or the necessary investments or the expected performance and consisted of[10]:

- The refinement of IP1 operational improvements

- The introduction of regulatory and standardization roadmaps

- The update of the risk management plan

EU's Single Sky Committee on 7.05.2010 and Eurocontrol's Stakeholders Consultancy Group on 17.05.2010 approved the proposal without any change. The SJU Administrative Board adopted the proposal on 12.07.2010.

Future updates are expected every 18 to 24 months, which should adequately allow reflecting the progress achieved while ensuring the stability of the document and stakeholders' buy-in. The next update of the Master plan could address the link between the performance plan (high level needs) and the Master plan (technological response to the need for improving the network performance).

[1] Regulations (EC) 549/2004, 550/2004, 551/2004, 552/2004, OJ L96, 31.03.2004, p.1-26, as amended by Regulation (EC) 1070/2009 of 21.10.2009, OJ L300, 14.11.2009, p. 34.

[2] Council Regulation (EC)219/2007 of 27.02.2007, OJ L64, 2.03.2007, p. 1

[3] Master plan , p. 84

[4] Detailed technical description of work:

[5] NextGen is the USA's ATM modernisation Programme.

[6] Full report : or

[7] Article 5, Regulation (EC) No 549/2004 of 10.03.2004, OJ L96, 31.2.2004

[8] SESAR Joint Undertaking Annual Activity Report 2009, 10.03.2010:

[9] Council Resolution of 30.03.2009, paragraph 3