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Statement from Airlines for Europe on current state of Single European Sky (SES) negotiations

By  Brussels,

Brussels, 22 February 2024: Airlines for Europe (A4E) is concerned about the current negotiations of the Single European Sky (SES2+) legislation, in particular the negative consequences that will arise if policymakers rush to adopt the file for the sake of completion before the European elections.

A4E believes that the current legal framework for SES is in dire need of modernisation in order to deliver the efficient Single European Sky which will provide passengers with a reliable and sustainable service. This modernisation is long overdue, as it directly impacts the efficiency, punctuality, capacity, and overall sustainability of flights in Europe.

Airlines have consistently advocated for the advancement of SES2+, focusing on goals such as performance regulation, operational costs and efficiency improvements, harmonisation and digitisation – all of which are crucial components to optimise air traffic management and reduce the environmental impact of flying.

The compromises currently under discussion amongst EU policymakers don’t meet those expectations. They will not improve the current situation and could in fact become a barrier to achieving climate goals and enhancing the performance of the air traffic system. The current proposals on the Performance Review Board (PRB), target setting, independence of National Supervisory Authorities (NSAs), modulation of charges and various other elements will lead to a worse outcome that the status quo.

Instead of delivering the improvements industry needs to improve flying efficiency, these compromises will result in increased complexity and will maintain the current “patchwork” in Europe’s airspace. This will ultimately contribute to a high rate of air traffic control-related delays and inefficiencies, harming passengers and the environment.

A4E is therefore urging policymakers to ensure there is a harmonised approach, particularly when it comes to technology and operations. A4E calls on policymakers to address these concerns rather than just achieving a compromise for the sake of compromise. The continued development of SES is too important to be jeopardised by half-measures. Taking a bold stance and achieving real reform of Europe’s airspace will ultimately benefit airlines, passenger and, most importantly, the environment.