Friday, April 23, 2010

Pushing Toward a Single European Sky

The volcanic ash which has caused chaos in the European Union for the past week has put pressure on Member State Governments to complete the Single European Sky initiative.  See Joshua Chaffin & Pilita Clark, Renewed Call for Unified Air Traffic Control System, Fin. Times, Apr. 23, 2010 (available here).  Under the SES, the navigational airspaces of the EU Member States and members of the European Common Aviation Area (e.g., Norway, Iceland, and Macedonia) would be regulated by a single central authority.  EU Member States in particular have been resistant to the change despite agreeing to enabling legislation for the program.  See generally European Commission, Single European Sky II: Towards a More Sustainable and Better Performing Aviation, COM (2008) 389 final (June 25, 2008).

An extraordinary meeting to discuss fast tracking the SES initiative is scheduled for May 4.  See Press Release, Europa, Spain Calls an Extraordinary Meeting of Transport Ministers to Give Impetus to a "Single European Sky" (Apr. 23, 2010) (available here).  In addition to the SES, a review of emergency response procedures for EU airspace will be part of the meeting.  However, no revised timetable has been given for final implementation of the SES. 

Blog readers interested in the legal and policy challenges of the SES initiative should refer to Niels van Antwerpen's seminal work on the topic,Cross-Border Provision of Air Navigational Services with Specific Reference to Europe (Kluwer Law Int'l, 2008).

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