Network Manager governance and functions

The second regulatory package on the European Commission’s Single European Sky (SES II) presented the creation of a Network Manager as a centralised function for the European Union. The Network Manager would manage air traffic management network functions (airspace design, flow management) as well as scarce resources (transponder code allocations, radio frequencies), as defined in Commission Regulation (EU) N° 677/2011.

The European Commission nominated EUROCONTROL as the Network Manager in July 2011, with a mandate that runs until the end of the Performance Scheme’s second Reference Period - that is, until 31 December 2019. EUROCONTROL will seek re-designation for the period beyond 2019.

The Network Manager addresses performance issues strategically, operationally and technically. Its overarching mission is to contribute to the delivery of air traffic management’s (ATM) performance in the pan-European network in the areas of safety, capacity, environment/flight efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

With a unique vantage point of the European ATM network and in-depth expertise, the Network Manager’s priority is to forge operational partnerships and to foster cooperative decision-making, both of which are needed to achieve the performance targets.

The European ATM network includes all the European Union’s 28 and EUROCONTROL’s 41 Member States, as well as others which have bilateral agreements with the Network Manager.

Governance

The Network functions are managed through a process of cooperative decision-making.

1. The Network Management Board (NMB) ensures the governance of the Network Manager and monitors the Network Manager’s performance.

In particular the Network Management Board is responsible for:

  • Endorsing the Network Strategy Plan;
  • Endorsing the Network Managers annual budget;
  • Approving the annual report;
  • Approving the 3 to 5 year and the annual Network Operations Plans;
  • Approving the cooperative decision-making processes, the consultation processes as well as detailed working arrangements and processes for operations for the network functions, after a positive opinion of the Single Sky Committee;
  • Approving the Rules of Procedure of the European Aviation Crisis Coordination Cell;
  • Monitoring progress in the implementation of the plans and addressing any potential deviations from initial plans;
  • Monitoring the consultation process of operational stakeholders;
  • Monitoring activities related to the management of the network functions;
  • Monitoring Network Manager activities related to network crises; and
  • Assessing if the Network Manager has the appropriate competences, resources and impartiality to carry out independently the tasks assigned to it, including security, liability and contingency arrangements.

Membership: The NMB consists of representatives of ANSPs, airspace users, the military and airport operators. The voting members of the Network Management Board are appointed upon proposals from their organisations, after a positive opinion of the Single Sky Committee.

This is the list of  the Network Management Board's current members.

For more information, download the NMB Rules of Procedures.

The NMB is assisted by the Network Directors of Operations (N-DOP), which is a group of the operational stakeholders' directors of operations established to provide operational advice to the NMB. NDOP ToRs.  

2. The Single Sky Committee (SSC) is the Network Manager’s second governing body. The Single Sky Committee was established to help the European Commission implement the Single European Sky. In the context of the Network Manager functions, the Single Sky Committee has been tasked –among others – with giving an opinion on the nomination of the Network Manager, the appointment of the members of the NMB, the Network Strategy Plan, and the Network Manager’s annual budget.

The Single Sky Committee shall give an opinion on:

  • The nomination of the Network Manager;
  • The appointment of the chairperson of the Network Management Board;
  • The appointment of the voting members of the Network Management Board;
  • The Rules of Procedure of the Network Management Board;
  • The Network Strategy Plan, and in particular the objectives of this plan at an early stage;
  • The annual budget of the Network Manager;
  • The Rules of Procedure of the European Aviation Crisis Coordination Cell;
  • The cooperative decision-making processes, the consultation processes as well as the detailed working arrangements and processes for operations for the network functions.

Membership: The Single Sky Committee has two representatives of each European Union Member State (civil and military), observers from third countries and EUROCONTROL. The SSC is chaired by a representative from the European Commission.

Functions

The Network Manager is mandated by the European Commission to carry out four main functions:

  • to develop and create Route Network Design;
  • to provide a central function for Frequency Allocation;
  • to coordinate improvements to SSR Code Allocation;
  • to carry out the Air Traffic Flow management function.

In addition to the functions above, the Network Manager, with the support of the European Aviation Crisis Coordination Cell (EACCC), shall be responsible for coordinating the management of response to the network crisis. It shall also contribute to SESAR deployment, according to the European ATM Master Plan.

Tasks

The Network Manager adds value to Europe's air traffic management (ATM) system by:

  • helping air navigation service providers, civil/military airspace users and airports enhance their Europe-wide network performance;
  • jointly drawing up a strategy, plans and priorities;
  • helping to make routes more efficient;
  • balancing demand and capacity;
  • managing scarce resources;
  • consolidating information into centralised ATM databases;
  • helping to underpin collaborative decision-making;
  • forecasting, monitoring and analysing network performance;
  • dealing with network challenges centrally - weather, major events, hotspots, crises.

Performance

The Network Manager helps implement the performance scheme as stipulated by Regulation (EU) N° 691/2010 (replaced by Regulation N° 390/2013).

The European Commission ensures that the Network Manager is subject to the provisions of the Performance Scheme through the Network Performance Plan.

The Network Performance Plan lists improvements in the four Key Performance Areas:

Safety - the Network Manager uses a safety performance approach in carrying out its role: identifying network hotspots, analysing root causes and proposing action plans to minimise or avoid risk;

Capacity – the Network Manager plans to reduce the average en-route air traffic flow management delay to reach a maximum of 0.5 minutes per flight yearly;

Environment – the Network Manager will design more efficient airspace structures, promote better airspace utilisation by the users, optimise flights and other flight initiatives;

Cost-efficiency – in the Second Reference Period, the Network Manager will continue to ensure that it carries out its functions in the most cost-effective manner.

The Network Performance Plan for the second reference period (RP2) of the Performance Scheme has been approved.

Network planning

The Network Manager generates Strategic and Operational Plans for the Network.

The Network Strategy Plan

One of the Network Manager’s tasks is to develop, maintain and implement the Network Strategy Plan, the strategic tool for managing the European ATM network.

The plan defines those strategic operational objectives needed to achieve the requisite levels of ATM performance.

The Network Strategy Plan is endorsed by the Network Management Board, following the Single Sky Committee’s positive opinion, prior to its adoption by the European Commission.

The Network Strategy Plan:

  • provides a common understanding of the way the ATM network as a whole will achieve the performance targets, while preparing for the next performance reference period;
  • identifies the roles and responsibilities of the various operational stakeholders in implementing the plan;
  • serves as a reference for the activities to be carried out by the Network Manager and its operational stakeholders;
  • is aligned with the ATM Master Plan.

The Network Operations Plan

The Network Operations Plans (NOP) implements the Network Strategy Plan at an operational level. It describes measures which should be taken in order to achieve the European Union-wide performance targets in different time periods: three to five years; annually; seasonally; weekly and daily.

The Network Operations Plan is updated at regular intervals, taking into account all relevant developments, needs and requirements.

The NOP:

  • includes the European Route Network Improvement Plan and the equivalent for radio frequencies and the SSR transponder codes;
  • identifies operational constraints and bottlenecks and presents improvement measures for resolving them or mitigating their impact;
  • ensures that the operation plans of Air Navigation Service Providers, Functional Airspace Blocks and airport operators are aligned with the Network Operations Plan.
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