Belgium (Brussels Morning Newspaper) The Single European Sky (SES) project was founded in 2004 with the goal of addressing the issues caused by the fragmented character of Europe’s airspace and the rising demand for air travel, which leads to inefficiencies, delays, and unneeded environmental effect. The initiative aimed to improve the overall performance of Europe’s aviation industry by optimizing airspace usage, lowering congestion, and enhancing air navigation services.
Today the SES 2+ initiative is facing some issues, mostly because the member states do not want to give Brussels more power over their national airspaces, airports, and data. Data is developing to a most valuable resource, one that member states realise they could use to their benefit when striking deals of privitazation of their airports, investments and development.
Since the initiation of the SES 2+ proposal, progress has been made in certain areas, while other aspects are still under discussion and evaluation. The implementation of SES 2+ requires close collaboration between the European Commission, national authorities, ANSPs, and other stakeholders. It also necessitates addressing various technical, operational, and regulatory challenges.
The MEPs love it, the IATA wants it but the states fear it.
Systems, Procedures and Security
Τhe SES project is actually an umbrella of a number of other initiatives that being implemented will lead to the “final” one. Due to the pandemic, all initiatives were frozen and not delivered. The war in Ukraine has also created shadows over Europe’s airspace, and to what extent it is able to play a leading role in safeguarding the region.
The various blocks into which the airspace will be divided are likely to be of particular importance and even attract a lot of funds.
To construct bigger, more effective airspace blocks, the Functional Airspace Blocks (FABs) reorganize airspace across national lines. As a result, route durations can be shortened and air traffic flow can be better managed.
According to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), passenger traffic and freight volume should both quadruple by 2035. To deal with this overburden, the SESAR program in Europe makes numerous suggestions for improvement. Modernizing present air traffic management techniques and tools is necessary to effectively respond. All air service providers must make an effort and adapt to the market in order to meet demand amid rising traffic.
The SES initiative seeks to create common policies, guidelines, and practices for managing air traffic across Europe. It attempts to enhance interoperability and seamless coordination among air navigation service providers (ANSPs) across several countries by standardizing standards, communication protocols, and operational procedures.
The SES 2+ project calls for the installation of cutting-edge systems and technology to support air traffic management, including the establishment of the European Common Aviation Area (ECAA) and the European Air Traffic Management Network (EATMN). These devices make it possible for air traffic control centers to work together better, communicate more effectively, and conduct more precise monitoring.
As Ukraine closed its airspace, gasoline costs rose, and carriers were advised to “exercise caution” following Moscow’s military assault in Ukraine, airlines tried to react to the situation in Europe. The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) said Ukraine’s skies and airspace in Russia and Belarus within 100 nautical miles of borders with Ukraine could pose risks.
“In particular, there is a risk of both intentional targeting and misidentification of civil aircraft,” the agency said.
“The presence and possible use of a wide range of ground and airborne warfare systems poses a high risk for civil flights operating at all altitudes and flight levels.”
Brussels would like to control the airspace over Kiev so they can give depth, control the bottleneck, an imaginary axis with Riga that will also pass over Minsk. But Kremlin has a different view and will not allow such a mobilization under Moscow. The time that facilitated the Union and sought a good relationship with it is in the past.
According to a Reuters poll conducted in the United States last year, 74 percent of respondents are in favor of NATO imposing a no-fly zone over Ukraine as popular sentiment in the country for Ukrainians has grown in response to Russia’s invasion.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has urged with NATO on numerous occasions to forbid Russian jets from entering Ukrainian airspace, a move he claims would protect people from attacks. Although Ukraine is not a member of NATO, the organization has a treaty governing the collective defense of all of its members.
But Washington would not risk, as Europeans would not be on board.
The conflict in Ukraine primarily involved territorial disputes and military actions within Ukraine’s borders, particularly in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. Russia had stated that any contribution of aircraft from NATO countries would mean intervention by the Alliance. That is why flights over Ukrainian airspace were practically prohibited from the very beginning. If the latter manages to survive the war and join the Union, how will its single airspace be defined?
Dream big but stay realistic.