Pilots Call on Brussels to Accelerate Single European Sky

Pilots Call on Brussels to Accelerate Single European Sky

DALLAS— KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (KL), with the collaboration of Transavia Holland (HV) and EasyJet Europe (U2), has published a statement calling on the European Union to accelerate the process of the implementation of the second phase of the Single European Sky program (SES 2+).

SES 2+ aims to make EU airspace less fragmented and to improve air traffic management in terms of safety, capacity, cost-efficiency, and the environment.

The key message of the statement is that “in Europe, we do not have borders on the ground anymore. However, in the sky, we still do. These borders prevent us from flying directly to our destinations,” as stated by Peter and Arjan, two captains of the KLM group of airlines.

The KL Pilots say in the video below that the result of having a fragmented EU airspace is that it is more difficult to draw direct routes between cities, which increases the time and distance between airports and translates into more CO2 emissions.

On a typical flight from Amsterdam (AMS) to Geneva (GVA), a standard rerouting avoiding Belgium, Luxembourg, and France leads to 120 more kilometers and adds 10 minutes of flight time, which results in 1.4 tons more CO2 emitted into the atmosphere.

About the SES Program

The Single European Sky (SES) is a pioneering enormous project presented by the European Union in 1999, and its goal is to improve the performance of air traffic management and air navigation services by achieving a unified airspace across all of Europe and beyond.

This would mean that, as same as on the ground, borders between country airspace will be eliminated and the entire European aviation system would work as a whole single sky.

The first phase o the program (SES I) was adopted in 2004, and it established the legal framework around the creation of the SES, the provision of air navigation services, and the use of airspace in the program.

On the other hand, the second phase of the project (SES 2 and SES 2+) has been progressing since 2009 and is expected to be implemented fully before 2035. However, many airlines such as KLM, Transavia, or EasyJet, among others, claim it to be a very late date to fight the horrible effects of carbon emissions and global warming.

Flying more direct routes in Europe could cut our CO2 emissions by between 6% and 10%. This is a huge opportunity for Brussels to achieve this COreduction. It’s very positive to see how focused our pilots are on flying as efficiently as possible, saving fuel, and reducing emissions. Single European Sky is a crucial piece in the puzzle to cut COemissions in Europe in the short term.

Marjan Rintel, CEO of KLM.

Featured image: Before their departure, the pilots of a KLM Boeing 737 wave to the public. Photo: Robert Dumitrescu/Airways

Commercial aviation enthusiast from Madrid, Spain. Studying for a degree in Air Traffic Management and Operations at the Technical University of Madrid. Aviation photographer since 2018.

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