North European Functional Airspace Block Agreement - entry into force

The State-level Agreement establishing the North European Functional Airspace Block (NEFAB) enters into force on 23 December 2012.

The Contracting parties to the Agreement – Estonia, Finland, Latvia and Norway – have now finalised their national procedures for approval and ratification of the Agreement.

Preparations have been made during the last year by the ministries of transport, the civil aviation authorities and the national providers of air navigation services.

The four States aim to improve performance in air traffic management in all relevant aspects. Results will be seen in the organisation of the airspace and of air traffic services, support services and technical systems. These measures will result in reduced flight distances, reduced delays, and reduced fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, as well as reduced average unit rates within the NEFAB airspace. There will therefore be a number of benefits for all stakeholders concerned. 

The purpose of the NEFAB agreement is to meet relevant requirements in the Single European Sky legislation, which obliges the Member States to ensure efficient provision of air navigation services. Improvements are expected as a result of closer coordination and cooperation between Member States, relevant State authorities and service providers.

The legal bodies of NEFAB at governmental and authority level include the NEFAB Council as the supreme governance body, in which the transport ministries and defence ministries will participate. Three committees are charged with assisting the Council: 
-  the committee for cooperation between the national supervisory authorities,
-  the committee for cooperation between the civil and military authorities,
-  the committee dealing with financial and performance issues.

In addition, a separate body will be set up for consultation with the service providers.

The first meeting of the NEFAB Council will take place in February 2013.  

The national air navigation service providers (ANSP) of the NEFAB States have established a specific governance structure for the purpose of their cooperation in NEFAB. The structure includes a dedicated programme management office to coordinate and manage the various tasks and projects. The plans for the NEFAB cooperation between the ANSPs have been approved by their top management. A five-year business plan has been drawn up. It is supplemented by a detailed action plan and implementation plan for the year 2013.

The main items in the five-year business plan are:
-‘Airspace 2015’, which aims to establish a more efficient route network, as well as a continuous ‘free route airspace’ across the NEFAB States, and
-‘ATS provision 2015’, which aims to improve the way in which air traffic services (ATS) are organised and provided and enable free route operations.  

These projects are closely coordinated with Sweden and Denmark. The potential benefits to the users of air navigation services (air carriers and other aircraft operators) of these projects alone are substantial. The route length can be reduced with 8500NM per day, reducing costs accordingly. In terms of environmental impact the reduced flight length can reduce CO2 emissions with more than 136 tonnes per day.

The NEFAB cooperation emphasises the importance of close cooperation with neighbouring States at the level of air navigation service providers, civil aviation authorities and ministries. Dedicated arrangements and agreements are already in place for this purpose, and NEFAB’s clear ambition is to further develop these arrangements in future, with consolidation of neighbouring functional airspace blocks as its vision.

NEFAB website: http://www.nefab.eu/

 

 

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