Eurocontrol's council, representing its 37 member states and the European Commission, has adopted the "roadmap" that confirms the organisation's role in future European air traffic management (ATM). This is significant in view of the potential for redistribution of roles between the Commission, the growing European Aviation Safety Agency, and Eurocontrol itself.

Eurocontrol is to retain four "key functions": network planning and design - including civil/military co-ordination pan-European functions - that is flow management, route charges and the European aeronautical database supporting the EU and its member states in their regulatory activities - but not being a regulator itself and providing regional air traffic control (ATC) services if requested by states.

The adoption also enables improved stakeholder input by creating the Air Navigation Services Board (ANSB) that will be, says Eurocontrol, "the new single platform for the Agency and its industry partners - chief executives of air navigation service providers [ANSP] and representatives of airspace users and airports - to discuss the air traffic management network and operations at strategic level."

Meanwhile an independent audit of the European Strategic Safety Action Plan has concluded that the programme has made a tangible difference to ATM safety in Europe. The average execution of ATM safety mechanisms in the European Civil Aviation Conference area has improved from 55% in 2002 to 70% in 2006 at the ANSPs, and from 52% in 2002 to 65% in 2006 at the national aviation authorities. But, says Eurocontrol, "national legal issues have slowed progress in one key area - incident reporting and data sharing".

Source: Flight International