Written by: Juraj Jirku
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Focussing on implementation

The Functional Airspace Block Central Europe (FAB CE) has taken significant steps forward towards meeting Single European Sky goals and Commission targets by establishing a joint venture limited company to manage its programme activities and appointing Helios and Integra to run its Project Support Office.

The joint venture limited company FCE (FAB CE Aviation Services Ltd) is only the second of its kind in Europe and is tasked with implementing agreed priority programmes spanning harmonisation of airspace and operations, business planning, technical harmonisation and common procurement. The Project Support Office is a vital enabler to FCE's work, helping to align it to Single European Sky and SESAR requirements, coordinate actions and track progress.

The FCE sees joint procurement as a way to reduce costs for ANSPs; early targets include common procurement of communications components, and other options are also being explored.

In operations, Free Route Airspace (FRA) is a mandatory requirement for the Single European Sky by the end of 2021 and is one of the priority programmes for FCE. Comments Programme Manager Matej Eljon: "FAB CE members are being progressive with FRA implementations at the national level, providing the building blocks towards a future full FAB CE FRA environment. Hungarian airspace was the first in Europe to have its entire fixed ATS route network abolished; the first cross border FRA was introduced above FL325 in April 2015 for night time flights over Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, followed by night FRA over Hungary and Romania in August. Then in October an initiative to extend H24 FRA from ground to FL660 within the airspace of Austria and Slovenia was launched." In addition, a full FAB CE FRA study is ongoing and is supported by facility funding from the European Commission.

Also on the agenda are airspace management and flow management integrated processes, fluent and flexible transfer of responsibility, training, harmonised safety management and contingency processes − all enablers for future operational concepts.

Adds PSO project manager for Helios, Dr Juraj Jirků: "We are delighted to have been appointed to support FAB CE during this next vital phase of their development. This is an important contract involving ten of our most experienced experts, working alongside seven experts from Integra. The challenge for FAB CE over the next reference period will be to exploit the cooperative structures already in place and realise tangible cost efficiency benefits. We are looking forward to helping them do this and meet the aims of the Commission's performance scheme."

For more information, contact Juraj Jirků.

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