European Commissioner for Transport Siim Kallas admitted to excessively slow progress on the Single European Sky (SES) last week and characterized Russia’s continued charges for Siberian overflights as unacceptable. He has threatening European Union member states with legal action over their failure to carry out their respective SES responsibilities. Separately, he is planning a March 21 meeting in Moscow to pressure Russian authorities to address what he views as “unfair” overflight fees.
Avionics and ATC » ATC
News, issues, personnel, equipment and developments about air traffic management.
The Single European Sky ATM Research (Sesar) effort, Europe’s equivalent of NextGen in the U.S., is making progress as a research and development program “but it is not yet a successful modernization program,” according to the man directing its development phase.
Since LightSquared’s bankruptcy last fall, a common perception was that the company had thrown in the towel and the GPS industry could cease looking over its shoulder, breathe a sigh of relief and get back to the navigation business. But that was not to be. In fact, what we have seen is more an extended time-out than a cessation of hostilities, as the combatants consolidated their positions. But neither has offered a cease-fire or surrender.
Across-the-board federal budget cuts scheduled to begin on March 1 will limit the flight-handling capability of the U.S. National Airspace System and could lead to permanent airport and ATC facility closures, warned the head of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (Natca).
On Friday, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood laid out the likely consequences to his department and the FAA of possible automatic federal budget cuts, known as sequestration, that are scheduled to start March 1. In the absence of a revised budget deal between the Obama Administration and Congress, he said the FAA is planning $600 million in cuts through the remainder of the fiscal year, which ends September 30.
The U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration have released details of the cuts they will make if mandated budget reductions from “sequestration” take effect March 1. The likelihood of Congress acting to prevent sequestration appeared to be dimming last week.
Trade organizations representing airports, airlines and air navigation service providers (ANSPs) are working together more closely to influence aviation system improvements in Europe, where the Single European Sky effort continues to draw criticism for moving too slowly. Airports Council International (ACI), the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the Civil Air Navigation Services Organization (Canso) plan to introduce a series of collaborative programs with tangible results, or “deliverables,” according to Canso director general Jeff Poole.
Airlines and the organization representing Europe’s air navigation service providers (ANSPs) agree that the continent must modernize and streamline its ATC system. But two decades into the pursuit of a smoothly functioning Single European Sky, “there has not been as much progress” as airlines need to remain strong, said Tony Tyler, director general and CEO of the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
The new director general of Europe’s intergovernmental ATC organization proposes that air navigation service providers (ANSPs) implement Single European Sky improvements at the regional level rather than as individual entities, both to constrain costs and improve operational efficiency.
The president of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Council has called for greater cooperation among nations to achieve global air traffic management goals. “Technology alone will not bring us where we want to go.