Merging SAXFRA and SEAFRA Free Route Airspaces

March 8, 2017

Representatives of five ANSPs signed a memorandum of cooperation during the World ATM Congress in Madrid, aimed towards merging two free route airspaces: SAXFRA (Slovenian Austrian Cross-border Free Route Airspace) and SEAFRA (South-East Axis Free Route Airspace).

SAXFRA (Austro Control and Slovenia Control) and SEAFRA (BHANSA, Croatia Control and SMATSA) are two crucial cross-border initiatives contributing significantly to the efficient flow of air traffic along the vital South East Axis. Each project has shown itself to be working out very well, but in line with the goals of the Single European Sky, merging those two airspaces will generate even greater benefits.
The South East Common Sky Initiative will strengthen the South East Axis by offering the shortest route options between Central and South Europe, including the flows to Turkey and farther to the Middle East. This initiative not only works towards achieving the goals of the European Commission regarding the implementation of Free Route Airspace across Europe, but also fulfils airspace users’ requests for having multiple route options available for the same city pair. The cooperation of SAXFRA and SEAFRA will produce one of the largest cross-border free route airspaces in Europe and is a significant step towards achieving the common European Free Route Airspace (FRA) by 2022.
“In line with the goals of the Single European Sky, this is the next significant step towards Free Route Airspace across all of Europe. The South East Common Sky Initiative will benefit both the airlines and passengers in reducing fuel consumption as well as the travel time,” said Austro Control CEO Heinz Sommerbauer in Madrid.
“If there is a common goal and willingness to cooperate, we can achieve great things. The South East Common Sky Initiative is a perfect example of that. Five ANSPs working together towards improving the flow of air traffic across Europe,” said Austro Control COO Thomas Hoffmann.
“As a logical continuation of an excellent cross-border cooperation through the SAXFRA and SEAFRA free route projects, SECSI is not only in line with the Single European Sky initiative, but offers even more increased efficiency and capacity over Central and Southeast Europe,” said BHANSA CEO, Davorin Primorac.
“The SECSI Free Route Airspace is a step forward after two successfully completed FRA projects: SAXFRA and SEAFRA. I am sure that the five ANSPs will demonstrate excellent cooperation to the benefit of airspace users to save thousands of tons of fuel per year. Moreover, the citizens of six states will be exposed to significantly less CO2 and NOx. I believe that airspace users will recognize the benefits of FRA in this region, as well as the environmental achievements,” said Croatia Control CEO Dragan Bilać.
“The South East Common Sky Initiative is another major step towards the needed ANSP collaboration in making a seamless European Sky a reality and reducing the future environmental footprint,” said Slovenia Control CEO Franc Željko Županič.
“A positive attitude, professionalism and devotion demonstrated in SEAFRA and SAXFRA, projected by all parties involved, guarantees the success of the South East Common Sky Initiative. I am absolutely confident that this important Free Route Airspace project in the region and Europe will deliver more significant savings to our users,” said SMATSA CEO Radojica Rovčanin.
The significance of the South East Common Sky Initiative was also stressed by Joe Sultana, Director Network Manager at Eurocontrol:
“Following the successful implementation of the SAXFRA and SEAFRA initiatives, the Southeast Europe Common Sky Initiative is an excellent example of how cross-border Free Route Airspace implementation progresses in Europe in complex airspace. The detailed and innovative work conducted by the five ANSPs in close coordination with the Network Manager makes this initiative a tangible example of how the European ATM network can be optimized. It opens significant opportunities for further airspace optimization in Central and Southeast Europe with similar neighboring initiatives”.