By 2021, the European air traffic management network will be almost fully route-free, offering operators more flight options for city pairs and helping improve airspace performance in the pivotal areas of capacity, efficiency and the environment, according to Eurocontrol’s latest pronouncement on the advantages of the ongoing development of the European Single Sky concept.
Eurocontrol said that free route airspace (FRA), one of the key objectives of Single Sky, has already notched up a series of steps for air traffic management (ATM) to meet that goal. These include moving from route availability to airspace availability; replacing ATM systems that that underpin FRA, a process that took place over the last 10 years; air navigation service providers improving their quality of service at little or no cost; and implementing most FRA initiatives to date years before the European Commission’s deadline.
Operators “now have the choice of filing a flight plan that best suits their own needs,” Eurocontrol said, “subject to their capabilities and airspace capacity. Free route airspace is fully systemized and the network manager operations center is there to regulate airspace when needed” through air traffic flow control measures.