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Air traffic management: organisation and use of airspace in the Single European Sky



Regulation (EC) No 551/2004 — organisation and use of the airspace in the single European sky (the airspace Regulation)


  • Part of a package of legislation on air traffic management to establish the Single European Sky under Regulation (EC) No 549/2004 (see summary), the regulation seeks to optimise the use of European airspace, thus reducing delays and promoting the growth of air transport.
  • The regulation was amended by Regulation (EC) No 1070/2009 in view of the plan to extend the competences of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency to include air traffic management safety. This amendment permits the European Commission to update measures due to technical or operational developments, as well as to lay down the basic criteria and procedures for the exercise of certain network management functions.


Creation of the Single European Sky

This seeks to:

  • provide tools to manage fluctuations in air traffic capacity;
  • improve safety: ensure the same levels of safety are observed in air traffic control systems and procedures in all EU countries;
  • reduce the fragmentation of air traffic service provision: varying national approaches to air traffic management and its organisation lead to inconsistencies and shortcomings, with an adverse effect on the internal air transport market;
  • improve the integration of military systems into the organisation of air traffic control;
  • facilitate the introduction of new technology.

Network management and design

To support initiatives both on a national level and on the level of functional airspace blocks, air traffic management network functions will allow optimal use of airspace and ensure that airspace users can operate preferred trajectories, while permitting maximum access to airspace and air navigation services.

Flexible use of airspace

Coordination will be increased between the civilian and military authorities, in particular for the allocation and efficient use of airspace for military purposes, including the criteria and principles which should govern allocation and use, and in particular access for civilian flights.


It has applied since 20 April 2004.


See also:


Regulation (EC) No 551/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 10 March 2004 on the organisation and use of the airspace in the single European sky (the airspace Regulation) (OJ L 96, 31.3.2004, pp. 20-25)

Successive amendments to Regulation (EC) No 551/2004 have been incorporated into the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.


Regulation (EU) 2018/1139 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 July 2018 on common rules in the field of civil aviation and establishing a European Union Aviation Safety Agency, and amending Regulations (EC) No 2111/2005, (EC) No 1008/2008, (EU) No 996/2010, (EU) No 376/2014 and Directives 2014/30/EU and 2014/53/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council, and repealing Regulations (EC) No 552/2004 and (EC) No 216/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council and Council Regulation (EEC) No 3922/91 (OJ L 212, 22.8.2018, pp. 1-122)

Regulation (EC) No 549/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 10 March 2004 laying down the framework for the creation of the single European sky (the framework Regulation) (OJ L 96, 31.3.2004, pp. 1-9)

See consolidated version.

last update 08.05.2020