More efficient European air traffic management

Air traffic controlA modernized air traffic management in European airspace and establishing more sustainable and efficient flight paths. That’s what the European Commission is proposing. And it adds that not adapting air traffic control capacities would result in additional costs, delays and more CO2 emissions. In 2019, delays cost the EU €6 billion ($5.1 billion), and led to 11.6 million tons of excess CO2. Obliging pilots to fly in congested airspace rather than taking a direct flight path also entails unnecessary CO2 emissions. And the same is true when airlines are taking longer routes to avoid charging zones with higher rates.

Single European Sky

CO2 emissionsCurbing emissions remains a major challenge for aviation. The European Commission believes that the Single European Sky paves the way for a European airspace that is used optimally and embraces modern technologies. After all, this was the reason why the Single European Sky was introduced in 2004.

Air traffic management

It ensures collaborative network management that allows airspace users to fly environmentally-optimal routes. And it will allow digital services, which do not necessarily require the presence of local infrastructure.


To secure safe and cost-effective air traffic management services, the Commission proposes the following actions:
1. Strengthening the European network and its management to avoid congestion and suboptimal flight routes.
Air traffic management2. Promoting a European market for data services needed for a better air traffic management.
3. Streamlining the economic regulation of air traffic services provided on behalf of member states to stimulate greater sustainability and resilience.
4. Boosting better coordination for the definition, development and deployment of innovative solutions.

Next step

The next step for the European Commission is to send the proposal to the Council of the European Union, consisting of the leaders of the member states. They may amend the Commission proposal. Next, the proposal will be sent to the European Parliament. Once the proposal has been finally adopted it can be implemented.

Related: Are trains better for the environment than planes?

Tags: European airspace, CO2 emissions; efficient flight paths

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