Single European Sky 2+
The 2009 SES II-package has shown great promise, especially as regards the application of a more hands-off performance oriented model of economic regulation. With the implementation of that approach, important lessons have been learned that needed to be included in the regulations to refine the approach. Additionally, the SES II initiative left some overlaps in legislation, so that same provisions were found in several pieces of legislation. To perform these updates, the European Commission proposed an interim update of the SES rules, called Single European Sky 2+ . The SES2+ proposal was made in June 2013 and is currently in the process for approval by the European Parliament and Council.
The update focuses on seven main areas
Independence and resources of National Supervisory Authorities (NSAs)
High level of expertise and independence of oversight is central to the safe and efficient management of the ATM system. Audits have shown deficiencies in the oversight of Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs). SES2+ seeks to improve the system by providing the NSAs with more support through EU-level co-operation and by pooling resources. It also requires more separation of NSAs from the ANSPs they supervise in order to ensure truly independent oversight, such as is found for example in the oversight of airlines.
Traditionally, all ATM services have been bundled into one monopoly provider and designated without use of public procurement rules. SES2+ proposed the application of normal procurement rules to ensure a transparent selection of the provider offering the best cost/benefit ratio.
The ANSPs exist to serve the airspace users and need to be focused on the customer needs. SES2+ brings better consultation of the airspace users to ensure their needs are heard.
Performance scheme and the Performance Review Body (PRB)
The performance scheme requires some updates to avoid dilution of targets. The Performance Review Body (PRB) will also be given more independence.
Functional Airspace Blocks (FABs)
FABs have so far been relatively inflexible constructions, focused too much on organisational structures instead of operational benefits. SES2+ will make them more flexible, industry led, and more focused on performance. As long as the performance targets are met, the Commission will not try to micromanage the FABs, but rather lets the industry and States devise their own solutions.
Network Manager (NM)
The network manager mainly provides services to other service providers. In SES2+, its role is clarified, made industry-led, and the door to new centralised services -especially ones coming from SESAR- has now been opened.
EASA, Eurocontrol and the institutional landscape
Finally, a decade of overlapping responsibilities between EU level organisations is brought to an end by dividing work between the three European-level organisations (EASA, Commission and Eurocontrol) so that Eurocontrol will focus on the operational issues (network manager), EASA on technical rule drafting and oversight authority tasks, and the Commission on economic regulation (performance, charging, institutional issues, etc...).
So far the European Parliament and Council have agreed on their initial positions and in the next step of work, they should agree on a compromise position to enter into force as soon as possible.