I have noted with interest two articles concerning the Airbus/EADS/Thales and Boeing initiatives on air traffic management (ATM) in Europe (Flight International, 30 July-5 August and 6-12 August). We at Eurocontrol welcome these developments, which signal that key companies in aerospace manufacturing have recognised the importance of air traffic management to the success of the industry.

We are pleased to see the inclusive approach being adopted by the European and American groups, emphasising the need for stakeholder involvement. This has been a critical factor in the successful roll-out of recent pan-European ATM improvement programmes such as basic area navigation (BRNAV), 8.33 kHz and reduced vertical separation minima (RVSM). To give your readers an idea of the challenge facing our industry when significant changes are made to air traffic control, RVSM involved the simultaneous introduction of six new flight levels in 41 states, the modification of over 10,000 aircraft and the training of approximately 100,000 pilots and 10,000 air traffic controllers, not forgetting all the R&D, standards, regulations and safety monitoring. But the programmes have to be co-ordinated through a pan-European organisation that has the authority to manage in the wider interest.

However, I would remind you that requirements for the improvement of European ATM already exist in the Eurocontrol ATM 2000+ strategy, agreed at ministerial level. This strategy is in the final phase of its first update, carried out through discussions with stakeholders and industry. As Eurocontrol introduces new ATM improvement programmes, I anticipate that industry will co-operate with us to ensure delivery of the safety, capacity, cost-effectiveness and environmental improvements that satisfy European ATM stakeholders' requirements.

Victor Aguado

Director General, Eurocontrol, Brussels. Belgium

Source: Flight International