Our capacity and environment challenges extend far beyond national airspaces; they are tests for the entire network.
Today, EU Member States, via their ANSPs, make commitments to deliver a specific capacity to the network from their national airspace. Demand must match supply. The EUROCONTROL Network Manager presides over this cooperative decision-making process, which involves all operational stakeholders.
Unfortunately, not all commitments have been honoured. This was most obviously the case in 2019, when we saw significant bottlenecks and the rerouting of traffic. While Network Manager was able to considerably reduce delays and cancellations, we should have been able to avoid getting into such a situation in the first place.
Going forward, we need a system that enables us to move capacity to where it is needed. We need service provision without local boundaries – enabled by data services and virtual centres, for instance, as part of our Digital European Sky. And we need to prepare for Network Manager’s operational role to become even more crucial for smooth and efficient aviation in Europe.