First European 4States Night Free Route Airspace – SEAFRA Concept

September 24, 2015

On 30 April 2015, three ANSPs (SMATSA, Croatia Control and BHANSA) responsible for the ANS provision in the airspace of four states – Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina offered airspace users the possibility to plan and execute flights free of fragmentation by state or AoR borders, by implementing cross-border Free Route Airspace (FRA) – South-East Axis Free Route Airspace (SEAFRA) at night – above FL325.

The ANSPs involved are satisfied with the results of the first European FRA concept implemented over the territories of four states, two of which are members of FAB CE (Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina) with Serbia and Montenegro which are not a part of the FAB initiative, proving that such cooperation is possible, and can be of benefit to all stakeholders.

The idea of such large-scale FRA was initiated by ATM experts of the ANSPs responsible for ANS provision in different states with a common goal to improve ATS safety and efficiency on one, and the environmental protection by reducing fuel, CO2 and fuel NOx emissions on the other hand. It is important to point out that the SEAFRA actions were taken in line with Regulation 716/2014, i.e. 7 years prior to the date planned for the unlimited free use of airspace over 9000m across Europe – 1 January 2022.

Being carefully planned and managed, and bearing in mind that all of the providers have different ATM systems in place, the SEAFRA project initiated the implementation of the cross-border FRA concept during night hours when the traffic is lower (23.00-05.00 UTC winter time and 22.00-04.00 UTC summer time).

This project is one of the key improvements within the EU initiative on establishing the Single European Sky regardless of state or even FAB borders, aiming to enhance safety and efficiency, and to increase capacity of air traffic in Europe.