Government supports the objectives of the Single European Sky
On 5 November 2020, the Government submitted a letter on the European Commission’s proposal concerning the implementation of the Single European Sky (SES) to Parliament. In the proposed Regulation, four previous SES regulations have been merged into one regulation. In addition, the Commission proposes that the Regulation on establishing a European Union Aviation Safety Agency be amended by adding provisions on the Performance Review Body of the Single European Sky to it.
The Government considers that the objectives of the Single European Sky and the related reform of the air traffic management system can be generally supported.
Single European Sky enables more efficient use of air space
The Single European Sky initiative was launched 20 years ago to improve the general effectiveness of the organisation and management of the European air space by reforming the sector that provides air navigation services. The aim is to harmonise the European airspace, which is fragmented and based on the Member States. The Single European Sky is estimated to provide huge benefits through the maximisation of the air space capacity, improved safety and a reduction in the costs and environmental effects resulting from the provision of air traffic services.
The Government considers it important that more efficient use of the airspace can be achieved through the Single European Sky and as a result, flight delays, costs and air traffic emissions can be reduced. The Government supports reforming the regulation of SES in a manner that encourages improvement in the achievement of environmental objectives and in the reduction of emissions and air navigation costs.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also revealed that the performance and charges of air navigation services are not regulated in a very flexible manner. For example, exceptionally great deviations from the traffic forecast cannot be taken into account. The purpose of the proposed Regulation is to address this challenge as well.
The legislative initiative is also aimed at improving the competitiveness of the EU’s air traffic system. The aim is to enhance the performance of the air traffic services, ensure the openness of the provision of air navigation services and enhance the independence and role of the national supervisory authority in the implementation of the performance targets. In addition, the purpose of the Regulation is to enhance the role and the powers of the Network Manager and create a new performance review body that will administratively be in connection with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency EASA.
The Government considers it important that airspace management and planning remain at the national level, even if the powers of the Network Manager are increased. Furthermore, the Government considers it appropriate to maintain Finland's integrated air navigation system also in future and emphasises the importance of close cooperation between civil and military aviation operators. According to the Government, the powers and tasks assigned to the Network Manager and the Performance Review Body must also be appropriately regulated.
In addition, the proposal includes provisions on a new kind of air traffic data service and a general information service for unmanned aviation. The Government is in favour of promoting the collection, management and use of air traffic data by enabling new kinds of services in a market-oriented manner.
The European Commission published the renewed SES2+ proposal and the proposal for the Regulation on amending the EASA regulation on 22 September 2020. The ministers of transport discussed the proposals in their video conference held on 8 October 2020. The consideration of the proposals began in the European Council’s Working Party on Aviation in October 2020 and will continue at least for the duration of autumn 2020. The schedule for their examination in the European Parliament is not yet known.
Maija Ahokas, Director of Unit, tel. +358 40 031 6178
Mira Karppanen, Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 50 340 2494
- Valtioneuvosto.fi: Decisions of the Government plenary session on 5 November 2020 (in Finnish)
- Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the implementation of the Single European Sky (recast)
- European Commission: Single European Sky: for a more sustainable and resilient air traffic management