More free route access to airspace now available with opening of the SEE FRA project

The completion of the SEE FRA project (South East Europe Free Route Airspace) on November 7, 2019 has opened up 24/7 cross border free route operations across the airspace of Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania.

According to Bulgaria’s BULATSA air navigation service provider ( the new flight planning rules significantly optimize the flight trajectories not only by using the shortest connections but also allowing the use of the most effective routings when the impact on the flights are inevitable – such as adverse weather avoidance. According to the simulations the synergistic effect of all improvements has the potential to save daily average up to 10,000 NM of the total mileage which represents 80 tons of fuel savings, 250 tons fewer CO2 emissions and 26 hours of flying time saved on a busy day.

As a future step Slovakia, as a part of SEEN FRA project (South East Europe Night Free Route Airspace) together with Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania, will assess the opportunities to join the SEE FRA airspace as 24/7 free route operations are already implemented within Slovakian airspace.  

“Free route airspace implementation in our area has been acknowledged by the Network Manager to be very advanced, compared to the European average, and SEE FRA is the culmination of a three-year project we have launched with Bulgaria, Romania and Slovakia to create another free route access for the operator,” says József Bakos, Head of Air Traffic Services (ATS) at Hungarocontrol.  “Transition to the SEE FRA was very smooth and as a result we have had several requests from other air navigation service providers on how we achieved this while solving issues such as maintaining cross-border separation standards.”