DANUBE FAB

Written by: James Hanson
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A sustainable and growing partnership

DANUBE Functional Airspace Block (FAB) is a State Initiative between Romania and the Republic of Bulgaria and one of the nine FABs established at the end of last year in response to EU legislation. Since June 2011, Helios has been at the heart of developments in the DANUBE FAB. Our on-site team led by James Hanson has worked closely with experts from the ANSPs, Military, NSAs and Ministries of Transport to implement a structured yet pragmatic approach to project management. James shares below some of his experience working on this project.

FABs directly address one of the most fundamental and difficult problems of attaining a Single European Sky (SES) − that of combining national interests. SES regulation seems to take two approaches: on the one hand pushing for an open market with service providers effectively in competition with each other; and on the other hand encouraging providers to work together through FABs. It is arguably the case that the former is undermining the latter, and perhaps this explains the European Commission's frustration with achievements so far.

In the case of DANUBE FAB, Helios has taken a three strand approach. Firstly, to focus on the longer term: helping to create processes and working practices that will sustain and grow the cooperation between partners and overcome the cultural and language differences that can otherwise get in the way of cooperation. This approach has led to the development of a common DANUBE FAB Strategic Programme for the next 5+ years defining the long term goals, and a FAB Annual Plan showing the activities that will be undertaken to get there. Both are fully aligned with the business and performance planning mechanisms of both ANSPs. Secondly we have focused on pursuing concrete activities, with clear implementation dates around which support and cooperation can be built. This means the Strategic Programme and Annual Plan contain activities that are realistic, achievable and for which outcomes can be verified. The third strand has been to make sure the achievements and intentions of the DANUBE FAB are clear and communicated effectively.

In recognition of the value of our support, the DANUBE FAB ANSPs (ROMATSA and BULATSA) have placed a new contract for a further 3 years of our on-site support. This support will continue to encourage a full range of activities and initiatives (strategic, operational, technical, financial, legal etc), all designed to place DANUBE FAB amongst the most ambitious, sustainable and successful FABs.

For further information contact James Hanson.


DANUBE Functional Airspace Block (FAB) is a State Initiative between Romania and the Republic of Bulgaria and one of the nine FABs established at the end of last year in response to EU legislation. Since June 2011, Helios has been at the heart of developments in the DANUBE FAB. Our on-site team led by James Hanson has worked closely with experts from the ANSPs, Military, NSAs and Ministries of Transport to implement a structured yet pragmatic approach to project management. James shares below some of his experience working on this project.


James Hanson

James has worked for Helios since 2005. He has carried out much of our work on technical interoperability, procurement support and EU policy. He has a particular expertise on surveillance technology and this has led to some interesting work on multilateration in far-flung places such as Namibia. James has been working in Bulgaria and Romania for the last two years leading our FAB work. He has found the work stimulating but more importantly has found his future partner there. We wish him and Irina all the best for their marriage and their move to the UK. We look forward to welcoming James back into our UK team where he will play an important role in our service provider business development team.

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