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First Actions from “Efficient Airspace” Declaration Achieved — Revealing Strength of Collaborative Approach in European Sky Reform

European Travel Commission (ETC) becomes latest partner to sign Declaration

By  Brussels, — Last updated on 5 December 2023
  • Joining A4E airlines, the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO), the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) and the Eurocontrol initiative to improve EU airspace inefficiencies on behalf of passengers and the environment

One of the key themes at this year’s World Air Traffic Management (ATM) Congress is how the industry is coping with Europe’s ever-growing ATM capacity shortages and related airspace inefficiencies, such as the lack of a seamless European sky. According to the latest Eurocontrol data, record delays and cancellations affected some 334 million travellers (+26%) last year, resulting in a €17.6 bn cost to the EU economy — a 28% increase compared to 2017.Eurocontrol presentation at European Aviation Club, February 2019 A new studySEO Economics/To70 study summary: Environmental impact of disruptions and airspace inefficiencies in Europe, February 2019 also found that ATC strikes, technical failures and related operational inefficiencies have led to one million tonnes of avoidable CO2 emissions since 2014 — on top of the additional emissions generated by not implementing EU airspace reform.

To alleviate existing bottlenecks and achieve short-term improvements on behalf of passengers and the environment, A4E airline COOs together with leaders from CANSO, EBAA, the ETCThe German National Tourist Board abstains from this Declaration and Eurocontrol have signed the “Efficient Airspace” Declaration, agreeing a set of key principles and actions which could improve the situation. Given the impact such inefficiencies are having on inbound tourism to the EU — threatening the reputation of Europe as a reliable tourist destination, the ETC joined the initiative at a signing at the A4E Aviation Summit on 6 March.

Several of the measures agreed in the Declaration have already been addressed and will be put into place by the start of the 2019 summer schedule, specifically:

  • Eurocontrol Network Manager to implement a coordinated approach for handling network operations in the summer of 2019, addressing restrictions, weather, civil/military cooperation and unplanned events.
  • Based on airline input, the Eurocontrol Network Manager to implement, in cooperation with CANSO Member ANSPs, enhanced network measures to balance air traffic capacity with demand — and accomplish the first steps towards a seamless European sky before summer 2019.

A4E’s Managing Director, Thomas Reynaert, addressed participants at the World ATM Congress during his panel, “The Big Crunch — Hard Talk on ATM Capacity” today: “The ‘Efficient Airspace’ Declaration has succeeded in reinvigorating enthusiasm for the vision of a seamless European sky of the future — as part of the SES initiative — and these past few months have shown that a combined effort among operational and political stakeholders is essential in order for real progress to occur”.

“The results from the European Commission’s Airspace Architecture Study underline the need to reconfigure and reform European airspace as well as create a legal and financial framework that rewards early movers. A4E welcomes both of these recommendations and we look forward to continuing the good work initiated through our Declaration to improve passengers’ travel experience and reduce the burden on our environment. In the meantime, we continue to set the standard in calling on national governments and the EU to make EU airspace reform a top political priority”, Reynaert added.

“CANSO and its Members are working closely with the airspace users, European Commission, States, and other stakeholders to improve the resilience of the ATM network and achieve a truly seamless European sky. We look forward to continuing this collaborative approach to championing efficiency in Europe”, said Tanja Grobotek — CANSO Director of Europe Affairs.

“An efficient airspace is instrumental to European citizens, operators and European communities alike — and we will continue to tackle the current issues that are at stake and encourage Member States to aid in implementing solutions at the local level”, said Robert Baltus, Chief Operating Officer, EBAA.

About EBAA

The European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) is the leading organisation for operators of business aircraft in Europe. Our mission is to enable responsible, sustainable growth for business aviation, enhance connectivity and create opportunities. EBAA works to improve safety standards and share knowledge, to further positive regulation, and to ease all aspects of closely tailored, flexible, point-to-point air transportation for individuals, governments, businesses and local communities in the most time-efficient way possible. Follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, or visit our website at

Press Contacts:

A4E: Jennifer Janzen,, +32 499 828294

CANSO: Valeria Beccari,,, +39 347 8681737

EBAA: Róman Kok,, +32 231 2806, M +32 488 39 19 79

ETC: Tatiana Veselova,, +32 2 548 90 00

Eurocontrol: Kyla Evans,, +32 498 940290