The EC has hired aviation consultancy specialist Helios to provide a range of services for the implementation of Europe’s Single European Sky initiative. The consultancy will support three key components of the new system’s implementation, as well as tackle wider technical and regulatory issues faced by the initiative’s adoption. The contract has a value of €10 million.
Europe has one of the safest airspaces in the world, on the back of carefully considered legislation and competent implementation. The space is, however, not very efficiently operated due to fragmentation within air traffic control – individual member states still run boarder defined airspaces, with large swathes of airspace designated for undetermined military use. The current European air traffic management (ATM) system is said to have additional costs of more than €2 - €3 billion every year, compared to similar systems across the globe.
In 2001, the European Commission adopted proposals for a Single European Sky (SES) initiative. The aim of the initiative has been to create an air traffic management system that is based on efficiency rather than national boarders, with the additional integration of civil and military air traffic management. The SES initiative will see the European Union coordinated design, management and regulation of the air space.
The introduction of the SES has been slow going; in 2013 the EC presented its plan “B” to speed up the implementation process of SES. As part of the rollout of the SES, it was recently announced that Helios has won a €10 million contract. The deal will see the consultancy firm provide support for three key pillars of the SESs implementation: the Industry Consultation Body (ICB), the NSA Coordination Platform (NCP) and the Expert Group on the Social Dimension of SES (EGSD). The implementation of the SES still faces considerable challenges, including cyber-security, and revision of the regulatory framework for safety.
Commenting on the project win, Paul Ravenhill, Technical Director for Helios, says: “This continues and extends our long – standing work for the ICB, and is testament to the job we have done for them over the last ten years. We are immensely proud of our staff who, every day, are engaged in ATM strategy and policy work covering operational, technical and economic matters. As a consultancy we work hard to maintain our independence, and this will be a key factor of our support function.”
Helios is also currently working on the creation of an integrated air traffic management system for the GCC region.