Merging of Free Route Airspaces SAXFRA and SEAFRA

South East Common Sky Initiative (SECSI) - Memorandum of Cooperation signed 

Representatives from five ANSPs signed a memorandum of cooperation during the World ATM Congress in Madrid aimed towards merging the 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
eurocontrol stand wac2017 fra workshop signing 3 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 Single European Sky a merging of 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 further to the Middle East. This initiative not only works towards achieving the goals of the European Commission regarding the implementation of Free Route 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 a common European Free Route airspace (FRA) by 2022.

“In line with the goals of 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 for 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 South East Europe”, said BHANSA CEO, Davorin Primorac.

“The SECSI Free Route airspace is a step forward after the two successfully completed FRA projects, SAXFRA and SEAFRA. I am sure that the five ANSPs will demonstrate excellent cooperation for the benefit of the airspace users to save thousands of tons of fuel per year; moreover, the citizens of the six states will be exposed to significantly decreased emissions of CO2 and NOx. I believe the 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 Eurocontrol:

“Following the successful implementation of the SAXFRA and SEAFRA initiatives, 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 makes this initiative a tangible example of how the European ATM network can be optimised. It opens significant opportunities for further airspace optimisation in Central and South East Europe with similar neighboring initiatives”.

FAB CEO Committee held in Bratislava

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On March 2nd the FAB CE CEO Committee was held in Bratislava.

Among the topics discussed were a report by the Program Manager including an update on the status of FCE activities as well as on the Gate One FRA. Additional topics included the FCE Annual Plan 2017 and CEF FRA –Validation activities. Also on the agenda PR and Government Affairs Strategy.

Implementation of H24/7 South East Axis Free Route Airspace - SEAFRA

Following the night implementation in April 2015, three ANSPs (SMATSA, Croatia Control and BHANSA) responsible for the ANS provision in the airspace of four States – Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina as of December 8th have offered the airspace users H24/7 possibility to plan and execute flights free of fragmentation by state or AoR borders, by implementing the cross-border Free Route Airspace (FRA) – South-East Axis FRA (SEAFRA) - above FL325.

This is the first European FRA concept implemented over the territories of four states, two of which are members of FAB CE (Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina) with Serbia and Montenegro which are not a part of the FAB initiative, proving that such cooperation is possible, and can be of benefit to all stakeholders.

The idea of such a large-scale FRA was initiated by ATM experts of the ANSPs responsible for ANS provision in different states, with a common goal of improving ATS (Air Traffic Service) safety and efficiency as well as environmental protection by reducing fuel, CO2 and fuel NOx emissions.

It is important to point out that the SEAFRA actions were taken in line with the Regulation 716/2014, i.e. 5 years prior to the date of January the 1st 2022 for which the unlimited free use of airspace over 9.000 m across Europe is planned.

This project is one of the key improvements within the EU initiative on establishing the Single European Sky, regardless of the state borders or even FAB borders, aiming to enhance safety and efficiency, and to increase capacity of air traffic in Europe.

FAB CE Newsletter Autumn 2016

The FAB CE Newsletter Autumn 2016 is available:

In this issue:

- Introduction Milos Bartos, CEOC Chair
- CEOC approves High Level Plan
- FAB CE performs above target
- Analysis aligns projects with SESAR
- Introducing Free route airspace by 2019
- Social Dialogue forum in Bratislava
- Gate One selects FCE to manage Free Route Airspace project
- Securing benefits from Dynamic Airspace Management
- First projects near deployment
- Smart procurement offers savings
- Joint statement on future NM
- Common controller licensing
- Safety measure focus on prevention

Austro Control and Slovenia Control implement cross-border „Free Route“-Airspace

As of November 10th, Austro Control and Slovenia Control have successfully implemented
the first cross-border “Free Route”-Airspace without any vertical and time-based
restrictions in Europe.

The Slovenian Austrian Cross-border Free Route Airspace (SAXFRA) successfully went operational on November 10, 2016, being the first cross-border free route airspace without vertical or time-based restrictions. Virtually all airways (ATS routes) in the SAXFRA airspace
will disappear.

SAXFRA offers airspace users the opportunity to fly between predefined entry and exit points
using the most direct route possible. Airspace users will also be able to select the optimum
route and vertical profile for their requirements via intermediate points. Enabling free route
flying options in this complex and already highly optimized environment offers an estimated
savings of 13.000 kg of fuel daily and helps to reduce the CO2 emissions by 43.000 kg per day.
Free route is due to be implemented in the whole of FAB CE airspace (Austria, Slovenia,
Hungary, Croatia, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Bosnia-Herzegovina) by 2019.

SAXFRA, with its cross-border concept, time and vertical availability, represents a major step
forward in regard to the European ATM Master Plan for free route operations and follows the
roadmap to a successful implementation of Single European Sky.