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Document 52012IP0370

Implementation of the Single European Sky legislation European Parliament resolution of 23 October 2012 on the Implementation of the Single European Sky Legislation (2012/2005(INI))

OJ C 68E , 7.3.2014, p. 15–20 (BG, ES, CS, DA, DE, ET, EL, EN, FR, IT, LV, LT, HU, MT, NL, PL, PT, RO, SK, SL, FI, SV)

In force



Official Journal of the European Union

CE 68/15

Tuesday 23 October 2012
Implementation of the Single European Sky legislation


European Parliament resolution of 23 October 2012 on the Implementation of the Single European Sky Legislation (2012/2005(INI))

2014/C 68 E/03

The European Parliament,

having regard to the report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the Implementation of the Single Sky legislation: time to deliver (COM(2011)0731),

having regard to the communication from the Commission on governance and incentive mechanisms for the deployment of SESAR, the Single European Sky’s technological pillar (COM(2011)0923),

having regard to the white paper ‘Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area - Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system’ (COM(2011)0144),

having regard to Rule 48 of its Rules of Procedure,

having regard to the report of the Committee on Transport and Tourism and the opinion of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (A7-0254/2012),


whereas the implementation of the Single European Sky (SES) has already taken many positive steps forward;


whereas 2012 is expected to be a pivotal year for the implementation of the SES;


whereas the completion of the SES will lead to considerable economic, safety and environmental savings by creating a more sustainable aviation sector and a more effective air traffic management system at European level;


whereas the volume of air traffic is constantly increasing, resulting in insufficient capacity and an increase in delays for passengers, whilst airlines’ growth plans are also affected; whereas Europe’s airspace is among the busiest in the world, with over 750 million passengers using EU airports, and this figure is expected to double by 2030;


whereas the success of the SES depends on an integrated approach without individual Member States putting at risk its implementation as a whole;


whereas 4 December 2012 is the deadline for completion of implementation of Functional Airspace Blocks (FABs), but the latest reports indicate that the situation is far from complying with this provision of the SES legislation;


whereas according to Article 13(3) of Regulation (EU) No 691/2010, four months after the reception of the performance plans from the Member States the Commission should issue recommendations concerning the adoption of revised performance targets for those not consistent with the EU-wide targets;


whereas currently the national Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSP) providing air traffic control services mirror the fragmented political geography of the continent, thus unfortunately creating inefficiencies and congestion;


whereas in order to complete the implementation of the SES it is necessary to take measures to achieve the EU’s air safety objectives, so as to improve current standards and ensure a uniformly high degree of safety for the public;


whereas other programmes such as Galileo and the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) are swiftly moving ahead;


whereas the required funding and financial frameworks should be agreed as soon as possible;



Recognises the constraints that exist with regard to the implementation of the SES legislation; considers, nonetheless, that it is necessary to build significantly on the progress made so far, laying down binding timeframes for the implementation of the SES but also taking account of business considerations;


Underlines the need to move quickly and to push ahead with the implementation of the SES legislation, as well as with the performance scheme for air navigation services and network functions in particular;


Points out that the critical phase of deployment is on the horizon and must be tackled in a timely, synchronised and coordinated manner;


Warns that the increase in air traffic means that Europe’s airspace is fast approaching its maximum capacity and that this problem needs to be urgently addressed, in order to guarantee high-quality air transport services for the European public and ensure that the impact on the environment and climate does not intensify;


Highlights the importance of airports as entry and exit points for the European network; calls for them to be fully taken into account in the development of the SES, including regional airports, given their role in helping remove network congestion and increase capacity;


Draws attention to the urgent need to implement the SES legislation successfully, in order to avoid increased congestion with ever heavier traffic flows and outdated technologies and ensure greater consistency in European air safety provisions;


Notes that maintaining Europe’s consistently high levels of safety and operational conditions is becoming more and more of a challenge; urges the Member States and the Commission to clarify the role of the relevant European bodies, so as to ensure that reliable and transparent international air safety standards are maintained;


Recalls the need to make Europe’s airspace as efficient as possible, from the viewpoint not only of economic advantages but also of environmental, energy and social benefits, including those to air passengers;


Highlights the fact that in the Commission’s latest communication on the subject it was estimated that there could be a cumulative impact on EU GDP of EUR 419 billion during the period 2013-2030 in the EU-27, with 328 000 jobs being created directly or indirectly and a net saving in CO2 emissions of some 50 million tonnes, if there is a full and timely deployment of the Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research (SESAR) technology;


Points out that, according to the Commission, the timely introduction of SESAR will bring practical benefits for passengers, resulting in flight times being shortened by approximately 10 % (or nine minutes), 50 % fewer flight cancellations and delays, and a possible reduction in air fares; stresses, however, that should the deployment of SESAR be delayed by ten years the overall impact would be catastrophic, since there would be a loss of around EUR 268 billion as a result of a reduced cumulative impact on EU GDP, with some 190 000 fewer jobs being created and some 55 million tonnes less saved in CO2 emissions;


Notes that other key countries and regions are racing ahead in terms of research and developing innovative technology, and therefore regrets that the EU may lose its lead to other international players unless the implementation of the SES legislation is accelerated;


Takes the view that the proper functioning of the SES can only be assured if the various implementation dates are strictly honoured by all concerned;


Stresses that pilot programmes have been undertaken and that the results of these were positive;


Asks the Commission to report back to the Committee on Transport and Tourism on the progress made towards the implementation of the performance scheme by all ANSPs by December 2012;


Asks the Commission to report back to the Committee on Transport and Tourism on the progress made with regard to the implementation of the SES legislation by March 2013, including an evaluation of the consequences of the delays in implementing the FABs;

Political input


Reminds the Member States that they have publicly committed themselves to achieving the goal of a Single European Sky, overwhelmingly supporting the relevant legislation, and insists that they must remain proactive and involved in the implementation of this legislation; calls on the Member States, in this connection, to submit national performance plans in line with EU performance targets, and to adopt the revised performance targets proposed by the Commission; calls on the Commission to initiate appropriate action in case of failure to meet the deadlines for the implementation of this legislation;


Recalls the objectives for aviation described in both the white paper on transport policy and the document ‘Flightpath 2050 - Europe’s Vision for Aviation - Report of the High Level Group on Aviation Research’;


Insists that enhanced priority should be accorded to this issue and that proactive political support on the part of the Member States and of all those involved is needed for the full and timely delivery of the SES;


Stresses that successful implementation of the SES legislation will have a positive and encouraging impact on competition throughout the EU and worldwide, fostering growth and employment, particularly in the aeronautics and aviation industries;


Regrets the fact that despite its considerable social and environmental benefits the SES project is not sufficiently known or understood by the public, and invites the Commission, the Member States and stakeholders to increase their public communication efforts;


Recognises the challenges of the European Air Traffic Managements (ATMs), and acknowledges the critical role of the human factor and of an efficient social dialogue in delivering the SES; recognises the need for continued emphasis on open reporting procedures; stresses that implementation of the SES will bring with it a strong demand for high-end and highly-skilled jobs;


Respects fully the sovereignty and national prerogatives of the Member States as regards ATMs relating to military and other state aircraft operations and training; notes the Member States’ commitment to ensuring that the concept of flexible use of airspace (1) is fully and uniformly applied, and recognises the need to support their efforts to that end; highlights the fact that state aircraft include, in addition to military aviation, those on police, firefighting, coastguard, customs, civil protection and other missions, thus bringing a wide range of security and crisis management activities within the scope of their operations;


Believes that the successful implementation of the SES will bring benefits to the entire supply chain, including manufacturers, airlines, SMEs, the whole of the tourism sector, etc;


Remains extremely concerned that the creation of FABs across Europe is not only behind schedule but also lacks substance, and therefore, supports the efforts of the coordinator; highlights the importance of cooperation, coordination and political action by and between Member States in order to achieve the objective of implementing the FABs by 4 December 2012; calls on the Commission to thoroughly monitor developments and, if necessary, take legal action, including sanctions, vis-à-vis Member States violating their obligations under the SES legislation;


Stresses that the creation of FABs needs to be understood not as a standalone requirement but as a means towards fulfilling the objectives of defragmenting Europe’s airspace and improving performance, and that without them the SES cannot be completed; asks the Commission to propose a strategy to accelerate the implementation of the FABs which includes the full implementation of centralised models (e.g. Network Manager, SESAR Joint Undertaking, Deployment Manager); calls on the Commission to make greater use of its cautioning methods, and, should these not succeed, take out infringement proceedings against those Member States which have not yet signed the agreements for establishing their FABs;


Considers that the most effective and efficient way of creating the SES is by means of a top-down approach, and therefore asks the Commission, on the basis of the report referred to in paragraph 15, to propose measures to eliminate the consequences of the delay in the implementation of FABs, and to switch from the bottom-up to the top-down approach swiftly, in order to ensure that the objectives of the SES II legislative package are achieved;


Calls on the Member States to ensure that the issue of lack of resources, especially with regard to the National Supervisory Authority, is addressed swiftly at national political level;


Emphasises that in order to adequately fulfil their role in the SES, the National Supervisory Authorities must be functionally separate from the ANSPs and must exercise their powers impartially, independently and transparently;


Points out that it is important to call on the national ANSPs to be proactive in the implementation of the SES legislation;


Reaffirms that the safe, efficient and flexible use of airspace can only be achieved through close cooperation and coordination between civil and military users of airspace;


Invites the Member States, with the aid of the relevant European agencies, to focus on enhancing civil-military cooperation and coordination with neighbouring countries;


Insists that the Member States provide the necessary funding as soon as possible for the completion of the SES; welcomes the fact that the Commission has proposed that the SES and SESAR be treated as a horizontal priority for funding in the Connecting Europe Facility;

SESAR Deployment Strategy


Acknowledges that there has been substantial financial investment by both industry and the EU in research and development for the SESAR technology, and believes it is now time to put in place the measures necessary to reap the benefits of that investment with the implementation of the SES legislation;


Recalls the need for coordination between the schedule for implementation of the SES and the development and deployment phase of SESAR as part of the SES, as stated in Regulation (EC) No 1070/2009;


Insists that, despite the requisite major investment, a number of important and tangible benefits stem from harmonisation, including flight optimisation, fuel efficiency, noise reduction, less air pollution and a reduced impact on climate change, as well as the flexible and safe use of a less fragmented sky; highlights the efficiency that greater civil-military coordination would achieve, since using joint infrastructure would result in cost-cutting; emphasises that enhanced interoperability between Member States and the realisation of FABs would also produce benefits in terms of crossborder operations;


Understands that the SESAR technology and the implementation of the SES are intrinsically related policies which need to be developed in order to reap full benefit, and therefore urges the industry to take the deployment phase of the SESAR project seriously;


Points out that the technologies have already been developed by the manufacturers and are currently available, which makes the successful implementation of SESAR an achievable goal;


Acknowledges that the business case for investment in SESAR technologies is stronger in larger and more congested hubs than in smaller regional airports or airports serving seasonal routes; maintains, however, that the performance of the overall network would be improved by a wider spread of SESAR capabilities, aided by public funding;


Believes there needs to be a globally coordinated approach in response to efforts to achieve standardisation, such as those being sought by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), in order to ensure that existing and new technologies are interoperable worldwide and encourage the signature of cooperation protocols in the area of research and development;


Considers that, in order to allow ANSPs and other stakeholders to best develop their strategic partnerships and receive incentives for achieving their objectives, the performance pillar needs to be further promoted;


Stresses that the military community is a key actor in the SES context and should be fully involved at all levels and at a very early stage; recognises the progress made in the implementation of SES legislation, and urges the Member States to speed up their efforts to achieve coordination on the military side; while acknowledging the national specificities of civil-military relations, calls on the Member States to focus on enhancing civil-military cooperation and interoperability and apply best practice in that area;


Is of the opinion that there is a need to foster cooperation with neighbouring countries with a view to extending the SES beyond the borders of the EU;


Underlines the need for defragmentation of European airspace through the implementation of technological innovations, strengthening of the performance scheme for air navigation services, and implementation of the FABs on schedule so as to unleash the beneficial effects of the SES;


Commends the continued support of the Member States and the stakeholders who are helping achieve harmonisation of the interpretation and implementation of the SES legislation;


Supports the public-private partnership (PPP) approach, as this can create a win-win situation for all when structured and executed appropriately and effectively, on a basis of working together with incentives and commitment;


Insists that the implementation of the SES legislation will be highly beneficial to all stakeholders, with, for instance, reduced user charges that are passed on to the end consumer, i.e. the passenger;


Believes there should be close cooperation at all times and no conflict between the bodies responsible for the implementation of the SES;


Calls for the preparations for a legislative proposal on the future role of the SESAR Joint Undertaking to be completed in good time so that it can continue its current role well into the future, as it has a vital part to play in ensuring the success of the SES; stresses the efforts made so far to demonstrate its effectiveness;


Urges the Commission to rapidly set up the governance, incentive and financial mechanisms, including public funding, that are needed to ensure the timely and effective deployment of SESAR technologies, involving the relevant authorities and stakeholders and paying particular attention to the implementation of innovative financial instruments;


Notes that, while military and civil-military expertise is present at different levels within the various stakeholder institutions such as the Single Sky Committee, Eurocontrol and the SESAR Joint Undertaking, there is still a need for a coordinated and comprehensive analysis of the implications of SES/SESAR for the military; notes the need to include the European Union Military Committee (EUMC) in this process, as this will ensure that defence chiefs are adequately informed;


Recognises, in this regard, the natural roles of the European Defence Agency (EDA) as a bridge between the defence community and the Commission and as a facilitator between military stakeholders; is in favour of strengthening the EDA’s role in building political awareness, networking, assisting with the deployment phase of SESAR and supporting Member States in financial and operational risk analysis; notes that the EDA is well placed to contribute to future SES challenges, for example in the field of equipment and training; welcomes the decision by Member States to involve the EU Military Staff (EUMS) in supporting the EDA in connection with SESAR; welcomes the establishment of the SES/SESAR Military Implementation Forum facilitated by the EDA, and encourages its further effective continuation, as it has the strong merit of bringing all relevant actors in the defence community to the table; emphasises that cooperation with NATO is indispensable and welcomes ongoing developments in this regard;


* *


Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission.

(1)  Statement by the Member States on military issues related to the Single European Sky of 10 March 2004, (OJ L 96, 31.3.2004, p. 9).