European and US authorities have reached a preliminary agreement on the integration of their respective future air traffic management systems, SESAR and NextGen.
Co-ordinating the two will constitute a major step towards the global standardisation of ATM systems, which the USA and the European Union will pursue through the International Civil Aviation Organisation.
The two sides will "identify the opportunities available" to "participate in consultative fora of each party's ATM modernisation programme", notes the European Commission.
"Interoperability between SESAR and NextGen is essential for airspace users as it will enable aircraft to fly in US and EU airspaces with the same equipment to navigate, communicate and report its position."
The ATM agreement is included in a technical annex that forms part of a European Commission and US Federal Aviation Administration memorandum of co-operation for civil aviation research and development.
Co-operation between Europe and the USA is envisaged for a variety of issues, including safety, security, environment, performance, alternative fuels, aircraft design, unmanned aircraft systems, suborbital aircraft and satellite-based communications.
Specific agreements on volcanic ash cloud response and alternative fuels are expected to follow the ATM announcement.