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Workshop Paper / Transport

4th Florence Air Forum Summary – Consolidating the Single European Sky: From Physical to Virtual

Author(s): FINGER Matthias, BRAND-WEINER Ian, BERT Nadia

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This document summarises the presentations and discussions of the 4th European Air Transport Regulation Forum  on "Consolidating the Single European Sky: From Physical to Virtual"

Air carriers, Air Navigation System Providers, airports, authorities, associations, as well as knowledgeable academics offered their view on the state and challenges of SES, based on the following initial questions formulated by the organisers:

  • Why is the SES only progressing slowly? 
  • Can a common infrastructure approach bring the Single European Sky forward? 
  • What steps need to be taken to define a harmonized regulatory framework to implement a common infrastructure approach?

The 4th EAirTRF assessed the current standoff of the SES and tried to come up with possible solutions to overcome this gridlock. One may say that everybody agrees that SES is a good idea and its full implementation will be a valuable tool to overcome the highly fragmented – thus inefficient, unsafe and polluted – European sky. However, recognizing the urgency for action does not mean that the actors involved are willing and/or able to take the necessary steps to concretely implement the SES.

In fact, the interaction among the different actors is framed by the complex balance of technological evolution and institutional regulatory framework setting. The 4th EAirTRF tried to look at the consolidation of the SES from a technical angle; in other words to look for possible performance improvements deriving from the adoption of new tools. Two proposals aimed at defragmenting the SES and based on the idea of building a single virtual platform for exchanging data have been put forward. The idea leading the discussion was how (and ultimately why) to build one shared infrastructure upon which the actors can autonomously operate via data exchange.