Advanced flexible use of airspace

Meeting all airspace users' needs through flexible airspace management.

Airspace should be considered as a single continuum, planned and used in a flexible way on a day-to-day basis by all categories of airspace users. 

At EUROCONTROL,  we work to reconcile the airspace needs of both civil and military stakeholders. We do so by sharing data, structured planning and integration of airspace management (ASM) results with all airspace users through community-driven air traffic flow and capacity management (ATFCM) processes and procedures. We improve network performance by providing the necessary system support at both local and network levels.

This vision and goal are driven by our advanced flexible use of airspace (AFUA) program, which combines innovative coordination procedures and automated continuous sharing of information among all partners. Progress relies on extended civil-military coordinated decision making and is intended to respond to the evolving needs of air traffic growth.

Our role

Acting as the Network Manager (NM), we facilitate the development of the European airspace into a continuum which is flexible and reactive to strategic and short-term changes in airspace user needs. Any necessary airspace segregation is temporary and based on real-time usage within a specific time period. Contiguous volumes of airspace are no longer constrained by national boundaries.

To support the military operations, a MILO service is organised in the NM operational environment to advise and coordinate military activities which could influence the network capacity. This guarantees for the military that the operations are not hampered.

We assist the Member States of the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC) area to improve their national collaborative civil-military airspace policy and to increase airspace sharing with a view to moving towards integrated pan-European airspace planning. We also support functional airspace blocks (FABs) in the setting up of new ASM processes at FAB level.


The AFUA project aims to improve network performance and to provide safe, efficient and accurate information/data flows.

With the AFUA, NM:

  • is introducing performance-driven operations based on the management of airspace configurations both at network and local/FAB level;
  • is supporting the use of more dynamic and flexible elements made available through the AFUA;
  • is defining a seamless, CDM-based, ASM/ATFCM/ATS process with advanced, real-time management of airspace configurations;
  • is promoting continuous sharing of information between all ATM partners.

The benefits for both civil and military users are:

  • increased flight efficiency through a reduction in distance, time and fuel burn;
  • availability of military training areas;
  • improved real-time civil/military cooperation; 
  • a reduction in airspace segregation needs;
  • the establishment of an enhanced (air traffic services) route network and associated sectorisation;
  • an increase in ATC capacity;
  • a reduction in delays to general air traffic;
  • more efficient ways to separate operational and general air traffic;
  • enhanced real-time civil/military coordination at local level and network level;
  • the definition and use of temporary airspace reservation are more closely in line with military operational requirements.

The FUA concept

The principle of the FUA concept is that airspace should not be classified as military or civilian, but should be considered a national asset and should be used flexibly. Consequently, in order to meet the requirements of all airspace users and help overall network performance, any possible specific designation of airspace should be temporary. The FUA concept was introduced in 1996 to ensure that military and civil airspace requirements are met through the daily allocation of flexible airspace structures. 

The FUA concept has been replaced by the advance flexible use of airspace (AFUA) concept which is now integrated into Network Manager/CDM (collaborative decision-making) procedures. The implementation of AFUA is progressing through coordinated implementation steps.


We develop, adopt and update common standards, specifications and guidance material for air traffic management systems and services. You can download them from the list below.

Acknowledge EU funding square

This project has been co-financed by the Connecting Europe Facility of the European Union.