EUROCONTROL and EASA look to help decarbonise aviation proposing "Five Pillars for a Green Single European Sky"

Airplane landing at green field airport

Today’s publication of "Five Pillars for a Green Single European Sky", a joint non-paper co-authored by EUROCONTROL and EASA, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, proposes five pillars that, if implemented together, would allow the European air traffic management (ATM) system to contribute its utmost to the EU’s climate-neutrality ambition by enabling aircraft and airspace users to further reduce their carbon footprint.

The clear current momentum towards climate neutrality, in combination with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, provide a unique opportunity to ‘build back better’ and more sustainably, and overcome the three key stumbling blocks in the past of slow technology uptake, fragmented governance, and a lack of adequate performance indicators.

The five pillars for a Green Single European Sky propose:

  1. Re-focused green objective
    SES high level objectives should reflect the new political priorities introducing climate objectives fostering CO2 reduction and environmental objectives, notably reduction of noise and air pollution.
  2. Green performance
    There should be green (environment and climate) performance targets for the Air Navigation Service Providers and the EUROCONTROL Network Manager offering green trajectories to airspace users.
  3. Green charging
    Use of the SES charging scheme as a tool to provide incentives to encourage efficient flight trajectories.
  4. Green digitalisation
    Boost the timely deployment of digital technologies and services by relevant operational stakeholders guided by the EUROCONTROL Network Manager in the SESAR deployment framework under the supervision of EASA.
  5. Green oversight
    Under the supervision of the European Commission install a single monitoring and reporting system for the Single European Sky. This could leverage the existing mechanisms involving national authorities, EASA and PRB, and entities guiding the SESAR innovation cycle.

Adopting a holistic approach as part of the proposed revision of the Single European Sky Package, these proposals aims to stimulate climate and environmentally-friendly behaviour and orientate investment as a key condition to enable the green recovery of air transport.