Deal enabling Europe’s first multinational functional airspace block thrashed out by participating nations

The Central European Air Traffic Services (CEATS) programme has been cleared for implementation “without delay” following years of hard negotiation between the eight nations taking part in its creation. Although transport ministers from only five of the nations have signed the resolution so far, the other three have promised their support as they proceed, and are themselves committed “to take a final position” by the end of next year at the latest, according to Eurocontrol’s CEATS director Guido Kerkhoss.

CEATS implementation will create a single functional airspace block (FAB) over the eight participating states. The 1 June ministerial meeting in Vienna, Austria, at which the resolution was agreed, announced significant advances compared with the status of the programme at the conclusion of the previous meeting in Luxembourg on 22 April. Then the ministers announced the completion of the “definition phase”, but failure to agree on six fundamental logistical and organisational points was blocking implementation. These points have now been settled.

The CEATS FAB will be fully subject to the Single European Sky legislation and will comply with Eurocontrol standards for safety and interoperability. The running of the Vienna upper area control centre (UAC) – which will control the entire CEATS FAB – will be entrusted to Eurocontrol, although it will be subject to Austrian company law by virtue of its location. Its governance, shareholding and staffing will reflect the participant CEATS lower airspace air navigation service providers, which remain national units. Also agreed were civil/military coordination arrangements, decisionmaking processes, and the “social forum”. The latter agrees representation of the employees by unions and professional associations. The division of user charges has not been determined yet, but Kerkhoss says a proposal that they shall be evenly shared was “well received”.


Source: Flight International