Air Traffic Management

Air Traffic Management (ATM) has a huge impact on the air transportation sector, including both direct costs (e.g. charges) and indirect costs incurred through lack of efficiency. Air transport will grow further in the future and in order to accommodate this development the current fragmentation and inefficiencies of the European airspace and infrastructure need to be overcome. The Single European Sky (SES) initiative aims to reduce the fragmentation of European airspace and to increase capacity, but it has so far failed to achieve the establishment of an integrated European ATM system.

AEA coordinates closely with key stakeholders to promote the development of an efficient, harmonised and interoperable ATM system and to accelerate the implementation of European’s flagship SES programme. 


After more than 50 years of activity, it is appropriate to review Eurocontrol’s role in the context of the Single European Sky (SES) and the EU common aviation market. In particular, Eurocontrol’s activities must be adapted to ensure a clear separation between service provision and regulation. If it is to become more cost-efficient, Eurocontrol cannot remain immune to market pressures. This requires a sound business plan for the Eurocontrol Agency, with clear objectives and continuous measurement of achievements and of the resources needed, while operating in a customer-oriented way. 

AEA is therefore pushing for a Eurocontrol vision and strategy focused on a more market-based approach taking into consideration the need for the accelerated implementation of an effective and efficient SES.


The completion of the Single European Sky (SES) initiative is essential to ensure the competitiveness, sustainability and growth of the EU economy. Yet almost a decade after the SES legislation first entered into force, the industry continues to be hampered by the fragmentation of European airspace and infrastructure, which results in billions of Euros per annum in additional costs, flight delays, and unnecessary carbon emissions. However, the implementation of SES is facing a deadlock, largely due to the lack of political will.

The SES is far too important a pan-European project, with too widespread benefits, for it to be allowed to fail. The new Commission should continue to push for the establishment of an SES, building on the SES II+ proposal. AEA will continue to advocate for SES as a catalyst for jobs and growth which is crucial for Europe as it struggles to revive its economy and to support its role in the highly competitive context of global aviation.


The technology required for the future Single Sky is provided through the air traffic management research programme SESAR, which aims to modernise infrastructure and increase efficiency by optimising capacity - and so enable the SES to become a reality.

In AEA’s view, SESAR will only be successful if it is performance-driven and based on users’ needs. As SESAR is a long-term initiative, it requires enormous investment and must be based on a clear business case combined with sufficient public funding. For a future SESAR mandate, AEA urges the Commission to consider the lessons learned from the Data Link Service debacle and to guarantee synchronized deployment of ground and airborne equipment.


Related Press Releases

See All
  • 21 March 2016

    Once more French air traffic controllers hijack passengers and airlines

    Once again passengers and European airlines are being seriously affected by strike action by air traffic controllers(ATC) in France.

    Read More
  • 12 December 2014

    European airline associations call on EU to reject air traffic control price hike proposal

    Germany has determined a 16.6 per cent increase in its charges to airlines for air traffic control services from 1 January 2015. This proposed outrageous price hike, at almost 40 times the rate of the Euro area inflation1, is not acceptable to the airspace users’ community and is completely at odds with the objective of the European Union performance scheme which aims to regulate and control the price increases of air traffic control providers and the entire Single European Sky. 

    Read More

Related Positions

See All
  • Making the Single European Sky (SES) a reality

    6 August 2014 Download
  • AEA-IATA joint letter to the Dutch Minister of Infrastructure & Environment on SES

    4 September 2013

    Joint AEA-IATA Letter to the Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and Environment on the Single European Sky