In September 2021 FAB CE representatives met with the Eurocontrol Network Manager to finalize the plan for further implementation of free route airspace (FRA) in the FAB CE area.
Full cross-border FRA allows airlines to fly more direct routes, reducing fuel burn and CO2 emissions or more easily adapt to network disruptions. The better use of FRA options during flight planning improved predictability and reduce ATC workload. The main immediate objectives were to extend cross-board FRA cross-border operations between South Eastern Europe Free Route Airspace (SEE FRA) and South East Common Sky Initiative Free Route Airspace (SECSI FRA) with neighbouring FRA programmes.
Among the key decisions taken at the meeting it was agreed that ANS Czech Republic will join the SEE FRA and POLFRA (Baltic) FRA airspace alignment programme; cross-border operations between SESCI FRA, FRALB and M-FRA are now due to be implemented at the start of December 2021; and 24 hour cross-border FRA operations between SEE FRA and Baltic FRA, to allow seamless FRA operations with South East, Central and North Europe, is now planned for early 2022.
According to the simulations the synergistic effect of all SEE FRA 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. 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.
The completion of the SEE FRA project on November 7, 2019 opened up 24/7 cross border free route operations across the airspace of Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania. At the beginning of 2021 Slovakia also joined the SEE FRA programme.