The European Commission's Trans European Transport Network Executive Agency (TEN-T) has advanced funding of €13.8 million ($19.7 million) to help an alliance of member states' air navigation service providers (ANSP) to combine their resources to provide more efficient air traffic services.
The alliance, known as FABEC (Functional Airspace Block Central Europe), consists of the ANSPs of France, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg, working also in co-operation with Switzerland.
The EC said: "The ultimate objective is to contribute to the establishment of a functional airspace block in the countries concerned by 2012 and to thus significantly improve air traffic management (ATM) in the region." Functional airspace blocks are designed according to airspace efficiency criteria, which is a fundamental move away from the division of ATM responsibility according to political borders.
"Establishing FABEC requires, amongst other things, programme management activities, development of ANSP governance, creation of a FABEC-wide performance management system, development of a FABEC safety case and safety management system, development of a FABEC implementation phase cost benefit analysis, development of FABEC HR harmonised working conditions and development of ANSP institutional arrangements," said the EC.
The FABEC group covers western Europe's core which, with 5.5 million flights a year, represents 55% of all Europe's air traffic movements.