Thursday, June 3, 2021

EU Council Supports Single European Sky Reformation Proposal

Single European Sky needs to be reformed; the Council agreed today. Based on Council’s agreement, the presidency now may launch talks with the Parliament to determine the final text, reports.

Single European Sky’s reform aims for better management for the European airspace and air navigation system, increasing capacity, reducing cost-efficiency, and improving the system’s ability to adapt in traffic while trying to minimise aviation’s CO₂ footprint.

The package includes an amended proposal of the Single European Sky regulation recast (SES 2+) and a proposal for amending the EU Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) regulation regarding its basic regulation.

Pedro Nuno Santos, the Minister of Infrastructure and Housing of Portugal, the holder of the Council’s presidency, noted that safety should be put first on any aviation reform. The member states are responsible for their airspace safety that the Chicago convention indicates.

“No sector has suffered more from the COVID crisis than aviation. It is therefore crucial that the reforms be based on thorough analysis, and that they do not increase costs for airlines, air navigation service providers or any other stakeholders,” Minister Santos said.

The Council agrees the reform must prioritise safety, manage the capacity needs, and help cut emissions while operating on a cost-effective system and include drones in the airspace.

Although they support the same objectives, the Council’s position is different from the Commission’s proposal regarding the most efficient ways to achieve them.

The Council’s position demands the national supervisory authority to be entirely independent of air navigation service providers. On the other hand, the Commission has proposed for member states to merge in the same administrative entity the economic and safety oversight functions.

Air navigation service providers must have a single certificate instead of two, as the Commission initially proposed. The document will cover the safety and economic aspects within the EU, meaning that they have to go through only one process.

The reform also suggests that certain air navigation services be adjusted to market conditions, allowing member states to ensure any deregulation is based on cost-benefit analysis.

Furthermore, alongside national authorities, the Commission will evaluate the performance of the air navigation services, complying with proportionality principles.

Regarding the en-route charges, there won’t be any changes applied, and the member states will continue setting their national unit rates according to relevant criteria.

In line with the European Green Deal, the protection of the environment is a key performance area in this reform proposal. Safety is a priority when assessing the performance of air navigation service and planning.

Previously, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has urged European states to support SES reformation highlighting that the air traffic management can collapse if they don’t act on reforming the initiative led by the European Union member countries and EUROCONTROL.

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