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Environment: Upgrade of Single European Sky regulations on the cards

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by KEITH ZAHRA

The European Commission is proposing an upgrade of the Single European Sky regulatory framework which comes on the heels of the European Green Deal. The objective is to modernise the management of European airspace and to establish more sustainable and efficient flightpaths. This can reduce up to 10% of air transport emissions. 

The proposal comes as the sharp drop in air traffic caused by the coronavirus pandemic calls for greater resilience of our air traffic management, by making it easier to adapt traffic capacities to demand. 

To secure safe and cost-effective air traffic management services, the Commission has put forward a number of proposals, targeted to: 

• strengthen the European network and its management to avoid congestion and suboptimal flight routes; 

• promote a European market for data services needed for a better air traffic management; 

• streamline the economic regulation of air traffic services provided on behalf of Member States to stimulate greater sustainability and resilience; 

• boosting better coordination for the definition, development and deployment of innovative solutions. 

The European Green Deal, but also new technological developments such as wider use of drones, have put digitalisation and decarbonisation of transport at the very heart of EU aviation policy. However, curbing emissions remains a major challenge for aviation. 

The Single European Sky therefore paves the way for a European airspace that is used optimally and embraces modern technologies. It ensures collaborative network management that allows airspace users to fly environmentally-optimal routes. And it will allow digital services which do not necessarily require the presence of local infrastructure. 

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