EC Urges Bulgaria to Improve Its Common Airspace Management

Politics » BULGARIA IN EU | July 10, 2014, Thursday // 14:14
Bulgaria: EC Urges Bulgaria to Improve Its Common Airspace Management Photo: Hristina Dimitrova

The European Commission has formally requested 18 member states among which Bulgaria to improve their Functional Airspace Blocks, Thursday.

Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and United Kingdom, members of six different Functional Airspace Blocks (FABs) have been requested to improve their FABs, a common airspace arranged around traffic flows rather than state boundaries. FABs are a crucial step towards a more efficient, less costly and less polluting aviation system in Europe, the official press release of the EC states.

Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for transport, said "We have to finally overcome national borders in the European airspace. FABs are a necessary, vital component of the Single European Sky. Right now these common airspaces exist only on paper; they are formally established but not yet functional. I urge Member States to step up their ambitions and push forward the implementation of the Single Sky"

All EU Member States should have implemented their FABs by 4 December 2012. The FAB between Italy, Greece, Cyprus, and Malta is still being formally established, whilst the State Agreements establishing the FAB between Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, Croatia, the FAB between Bulgaria and Romania (DANUBE FAB), the FAB between Lithuania and Poland, and the FAB between Spain and Portugal, and the UK/IRELAND FAB have come into force.

Actual progress on these FABs' airspace reorganizations and on the effectiveness of their air navigation services has been slow. This means more delays, the consumption of more fuel and therefore more GHG emissions, and more money charged to airlines.

Moreover, the lack of progress on FABs is holding back the full implementation of the EU's Single European Sky, which in turn generates inefficiencies in the entire European Air Traffic Management in the range of some 30 to 40 % of total air navigation costs and charges levied in Europe. This represents a loss of some EUR 5B annually. Additionally, planned safety enhancements in the Single European Sky are negatively impacted, the EC statement says.

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Tags: European Commission, EC, Functional Airspace Blocks, FABs, DANUBE FAB, Single European Sky, Bulgaria
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