Paris Air Show

Paris 2011: SESAR Skeptics Have Their Say

 - June 21, 2011, 7:03 AM

Not everybody is convinced that SESAR is on track. At the March 2011 ATC Global conference in Amsterdam speakers called for states to do far more to consolidate and cut costs by combining ATC centers and working closely together.

“The air navigation services system has reached the end of its lifecycle and there are various visible symptoms–there is national protection everywhere…[and] user charges are still defined by cost rather than the value of services rendered,” complained Danny Weder, CEO of Swiss air navigation service provider SkyGuide. “There is only one solution and it involves a fundamental shift of mindset. I’m not convinced there is enough will yet [among politicians], but we must find the courage to change.”

Irish Aviation Authority chief executive Eamonn Brennon said that Weder’s comments reflected a consensus that there is something wrong with Europe’s ATM business model. “Everyone says that SESAR is a good thing, but it’s years away…the EC says SES II [the EC legislative package designed to make SESAR happen] solves everything…and everyone says that the future will be cheaper–only it’s more expensive now,” he stated. “Yet often when you cash in the benefits, you’ve forgotten what the cost was.”

Brennon accepted that European airspace capacity could be increased through SESAR, that safety could be increased tenfold and that there could be a 10percent reduction in emissions through more efficient routings. But as for the fourth stated aim of SESAR–ATM costs being cut–his response was firm: “Not a chance.”