South East Common Sky Initiative Free Route Airspace (SECSI FRA) Successfully Implemented

February 1, 2018

Just less than a year after signing a memorandum of cooperation aimed towards merging two free route airspaces: SAXFRA (Slovenian Austrian Cross-border Free Route Airspace) and SEAFRA (South-East Axis Free Route Airspace  a project of three ANSPs from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro), the South East Common Sky Initiative Free Route Airspace (SECSI FRA) has been successfully implemented, with the support of the Network Manager.

On February 1, SECSI FRA went operational offering airspace users significant benefits along the South East Axis, by delivering the shortest route options from Central Europe to Southeast Europe. Benefits gained through SECSI FRA are substantial. Based on the shortest route assignment, potential savings per day are up to 1,940 NM in flight distance, 285 minutes in flight time, and a reduction in fuel consumption of 8,000 kg and CO2 emissions of 25,500 kg.

SECSI FRA is expected to deliver potential savings of 600,000 700,000 NM in flight distance per year. It will make more options available when determining the user-preferred trajectory. Full cross-border FRA allows airlines to take better advantage of wind or adapt to network disruptions. Better use of FRA options at the flight planning level improves predictability and reduces the ATC workload. 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.

“This is the next significant milestone towards Free Route Airspace across all of Europe – step by step, the Single European Sky is becoming a reality. The South East Common Sky Initiative Free Route Airspace will benefit airlines, passengers and the environment in reducing fuel consumption, travel time and CO2 emissions,” said Austro Control CEO Heinz Sommerbauer.

“It is a major achievement, that five ANSPs closely working together were able to implement SECSI FRA in less than a year. This project will not only make the flow of air traffic through Europe more efficient, but is also a clear sign that significant progress towards achieving the goal of a Single European Sky is being made,” said Austro Control COO Thomas Hoffmann.

“BHANSA is pleased to be part of the SECSI FRA project, which, as one of the most complex aviation projects in Europe, required cross-border cooperation between five air navigation service providers. Implementation of the SECSI FRA concept will result in an increase of the flexible use of airspace, environmental protection, reduction of fuel consumption and airspace user costs. Therefore, with this project realization, we are very close to achieving the goal for the most efficient use of airspace based on actual needs and, where possible, avoiding permanent airspace segregation while optimizing network performance in line with international aviation standards and recommended practices,” said BHANSA Director Davorin Primorac.

“The implementation of the South East Common Sky Initiative is a significant achievement in the field of airspace organization. It is a result of innovative technology and excellent relations built between the ANSPs and the Network Manager, while working on many key projects over the years. This initiative offers significant opportunities for further airspace optimization. Airspace users will benefit from shorter flight times, reduced fuel consumption and decreased CO2 and NOx emissions. Expansion of FRA across several borders moves us all towards achieving the Single European Sky,“ said Vlado Bagarić, Director General of Croatia Control.

“SECSI FRA is making the future, today. Its implementation is a demonstration that wide European visions are possible, with ANSPs, States, partners, working together for greater benefits of air traffic and fragile environment, but at the same time retaining identity and sovereignty. Building on experience, expertise and with perfect cooperation between five ANSPs and the EUROCONTROL Network Manager, the future multistate cross-border Free Route Airspace is achievable, and working together we can make it a reality on time,” said Slovenia Control CEO Franc Željko Županič.

“SMATSA considers the SECSI FRA project as an extremely important step forward in the field of ATM in the Southeast Europe region. I am sure that it also presents a relevant achievement from the Pan European perspective. This is an example that cross-border projects can be operationalized, if the corporate cooperation between ANSPs is adequately established, the objectives are well set out, project planning and management agile, participants in the project devoted and if personal relations between experts and managers involved in the project are developed. We must not forget that the project encompassed five ANSPs and the airspaces of six states. There is no doubt that SECSI FRA will prove itself in daily operations and I am looking forward to seeing its continuation, as a firm basis for a broader and comprehensive cross-border cooperation in the region that will deliver new partnerships and rise the quality of harmonized services provided to our users,” said Predrag Jovanović CEO of SMATSA.

“Following the successful implementation of the SAXFRA and SEAFRA initiative, the South East 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 and completed under a year 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,” said Joe Sultana, Network Manager.

The cooperation of SAXFRA and SEAFRA will produce one of the largest cross-border free route airspaces in Europe and is a major step towards achieving the common European Free Route Airspace by 2022.

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