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BRUSSELS/BUCHAREST: June 13, 2019. A total of 112 European air traffic management (ATM) projects are expected to deliver CO2 emission cuts of 552,000 tonnes by 2030, save airlines 12 million minutes of flying annually and cut costs by €484 million.

The projects are part of the Single European Sky Initiative (SES), launched by the European Commission (EC) in 2004 to modernise Europe’s inefficient air space with the catchy acronym SESAR, or Single European Sky ATM (Air Traffic Management) Research.

In 2007 SESAR was established as a public-private partnership to coordinate all EU R&D activities via 3,000 experts for a new ATM environment that currently employs 1.4 million people and contributes €110 billion annually to Europe’s GDP.

All projects are overseen by SESAR DM (Deployment Manager), set up by the EC to synchronise and coordinate their deployment across Europe and implemented by the SESAR Deployment Alliance (SDA).

SESAR Conference BucharestThe non-profit SDA was established under Belgian law and is composed of airlines, airports and air navigation service providers. The organisation coordinates the implementation of 300 ATM projects of which 74 have already been completed.

Speaking at a SESAR conference in Bucharest last week, SESAR DM general manager Nicolas Warinsko said his organisation had developed expertise and gained buy-in and trust since it was set up four years ago.

The event, organised in conjunction with the Romanian Air Traffic Services Administration and supported by the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation, brought together over 150 stakeholders and included an interactive panel discussion on challenges and opportunities for SESAR DM.

During the debate Andreas Eichinger, Frankfurt Airport vice president Operational Planning noted that for an industry which is often slow to embrace change, “relatively speaking projects are being completed at almost lightning speed”.

“SESAR DM is at a turning point, but we have developed valuable assets, and kept industry involved, with the military having a voice for perhaps the first time,” added Warinsko.

With the EC deciding on the future of SESAR DM by the end of the year, some at the Bucharest conference were less than optimistic including Christine Berg, EC Head of Single European Sky Unit, DG MOVE.

“It is clear that ATM in Europe is at capacity, continuous growth is resulting in delays not seen before,” she said. “In 2018, European air traffic grew by 18 percent, but delays grew by 273 percent.

"Have we achieved our objectives since the launch of SES 14 years ago? I would say no,” she added.

Pictured: SESAR moderator and panelists from left to right: Julian Pryke, Founder & COO, Meantime Communications; Andreas Eichinger, Vice-President Operational Planning Frankfurt Airport; Tanja Grobotek, Director European Affairs CANSO; Isabelle Jagiello, Senior Project Manager Innovation and Networks Agency (INEA); Janusz Janiszewski, CEO Polish Air Navigation Service Provider (PANSA); Regina Klotz, Vice-President SESAR Deployment Deutsche Lufthansa; and Lieutentant Colonel Sven Rensmeyer, Project Officer SESAR European Defence Agency.

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