Solidarity with Ukraine - statement 1 year on

Working hand in hand with Ukrainian colleagues to deliver much-needed support to the State aviation sector

EUROCONTROL stands firmly alongside its Member State Ukraine on this sad anniversary, one year to the day after Russian armed forces launched a massive escalation of a war against Ukraine.

Just in the last 12 months alone, tens of thousands of soldiers and civilians have been injured or killed, millions of Ukrainians have been displaced or forced to flee their country, and colossal damage has been wreaked on Ukraine’s infrastructure, including its civil aviation sector.

The invasion has had major consequences for the European air traffic management system. The closure of all Ukrainian airspace to civil air operations, significant airspace restrictions to some neighbouring countries, and the closure of Russian airspace to European carriers (and of European airspace to Russian airlines) have all had huge impacts on the network.

Many routes have been shut down or, thanks to the massive detours required, have become increasingly uneconomical to fly, while airspace has become more congested owing to rerouted traffic. And at a State level, the route charges income generated by carriers flying in Ukrainian airspace has effectively stopped, posing grave consequences for Ukrainian aviation employees and operational personnel both in terms of vanished livelihoods, and in terms of safety certification, with no flights to manage or operate.

The situation is grave, and support urgently needed – which is why the EUROCONTROL Member States have established a European ATM Voluntary Solidarity Fund of 46.5M€ which allows fellow States to demonstrate their solidarity. EUROCONTROL is working hard on many fronts to help the Ukrainian State and its aviation sector, and earlier this month, a first support instalment was transferred to Ukraine to help cover staff costs, and ensure operational readiness when air traffic recovers.

Restoring Ukraine’s aviation capability to enable safe air navigation service provision to civil aviation in the airspace of Ukraine when hostilities stop is essential. To plan for this, last year we established a Ukraine Recovery Plan to provide essential practical support to UkSATSE, the Ukrainian Air Navigation Service Provider, and to the State Aviation Administration of Ukraine. Work has already begun in many crucial areas.

The EUROCONTROL Network Manager is working on a scenario for airspace reopening which will be deployed in close coordination with Ukraine and all other impacted States/organisations. This defines a stepped recovery approach enabling a gradual resumption of flights to/from Ukraine as well as overflights.

Our EUROCONTROL Aviation Learning Centre has begun offering vital aviation training to UkSATSE staff, which is being complemented by third-party providers, as we look to support ATCOs, ATSEPs and ATM staff in their re-certification. In the safety-critical area of ATCO competency renewal, EUROCONTROL’s Maastricht Upper Area Control Centre and ENAC will begin a programme shortly designed to renew licenses and offer refresher training to all Ukrainian ATCOs.

We are planning to help Ukraine restore its CNS capabilities (communication, navigation & surveillance) by assessing radar coverage options and the state of the infrastructure.

And we are supporting Ukraine with our aviation cyber-security expertise to help safeguard its core aviation systems against hostile attacks.

Finally, through our well-established EUROCONTROL Support to States mechanism, we are working on a cooperation agreement to support the State Aviation Administration of Ukraine with future ANS inspections and oversight, and by competence-building through future strategic secondments to EUROCONTROL and EASA.

But most importantly, our support is reaching directly our colleagues working in the aviation sector of Ukraine, who are left without the possibility to perform their jobs and receive an income. This is at the heart of EUROCONTROL’s support strategy – to give them a helping hand, and to prepare them to resume their jobs once peace returns.

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