Eurocontrol mandates start with common controller rule to be applied in EU states
A compulsory European Union regulation to enforce a common licence for air traffic controllers operating in member states is set to be the first product of an accelerating process of transposing Eurocontrol safety regulatory requirements (ESARR) into EU law through the Single European Sky (SES) legislation.
The European Commission says it sees common licensing standards for controllers as a fundamental SES building block, because it is essential to enable airspace structure to be based on "functional airspace blocks" that can span national borders.
The Commission has just adopted a draft directive defining a Community licensing standard that might be operated nationally, but would allow intra-EU recognition of all controllers' licences wherever issued - and this would extend to non-EU Eurocontrol member countries. The draft, which has gone for reading at the European Parliament, is transposed from the ESARR 5 requirements on personnel standards and licensing, but the Commission has added EU social requirements to it.
Head of Eurocontrol's safety regulation unit (SRU) Peter Stastny explains that the preparation of ESARRs for transposition into EC regulations or directives began in February. Eventually they will all be embodied in EC Common Requirements for the Provision of Air Navigation Services. Stastny explains that these are not directly transposed ESARRs, but are drafted to have the same safety effect while becoming compulsory under EU law. Targets for early transposition include ESARR 3, which defines the requirement for safety management systems, and the timescale for completing the transposition of all ESARRs into Common Requirements will have been set by the end of the third quarter this year. But the ESARRs themselves will be around for some time yet, predicts Stastny, and they are gradually being implemented voluntarily by states not prepared to wait for compulsion.
Ratification by Bosnia and Herzegovina of the Central European Air Traffic Services (CEATS) agreement has resulted in the formal entry into force of the long-awaited project. Its effect will be the gradual implementation of a single upper airspace unit with its main area control centre at Vienna, Austria. The unit will cover Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, northern Italy, the Slovak Republic and Slovenia. Eurocontrol director general Victor Aguado has welcomed the opportunities for air traffic management (ATM) efficiency presented by an active CEATS, but experts at the recent Royal Aeronautical Society Single European Sky seminar observed that the individual CEATS nations seemed to have been rushing recently to acquire independent ATM capability.
DAVID LEARMOUNT / LONDON
Source: Flight International