Single European Sky – can we make it work?


Single European Sky – can we make it work?

Who will control the airspace above the UK if a European initiative to redesign national airspace boundaries and create a Single European Sky becomes a reality?

That will be one of the questions key European air traffic management specialists will discuss at an extraordinary conference called "Single European Sky - Can we make it work?" to be held in Southampton next week.

It will provide politicians, representatives of the European Commission, professionals working in the aviation and air traffic control environment as well as trade union representatives with an opportunity to influence the development and delivery of a Single European Sky.

Held on behalf of the European Transport Workers' Federation (ETF), the conference comes at a crucial time for 50,000 European air traffic management workers as the European Commission, nation states and ATM providers across Europe push forward with an initiative designed to increase aviation capacity and reduce air traffic delays.

Other issues for debate will include the impact on the travelling public, the political challenges the proposals raise and what they could mean for aviation safety.

On behalf of 2,000 UK air traffic controllers and 1,300 air traffic systems specialists represented by Prospect, General Secretary Paul Noon said: "The challenge facing ATM is to deliver a 50% increase in capacity whilst improving safety tenfold. The question UK ATM workers are asking is: can SES deliver and maintain safety?"

ETF-JATMWG President Jean-Pierre Etienne said: "European ATM workers are ready to work with the European Commission to deliver the Single European Sky. However we are not willing to work with the threats of consolidation, liberalisation or competition."

Speakers include the general secretaries of the two UK unions hosting the event – Paul Noon of Prospect and Mark Serwotka of PCS, as well as Francois Ballestero of the ETF.

Delegates will hear from David McMillan, Aviation Director General at the Department for Transport and Vice Chair of the European High Level Group; Gwyneth Dunwoody, Chair of the Commons Transport Select Committee; Paul Barron, Chief Executive of NATS; Luc Tytgat, European Commission; and Victor Aguado, Eurocontrol Director General.

The conference will take place on July 10-11 at the University of Southampton’s Highfield Campus and is hosted by Prospect and PCS, which represents air traffic control assistants. More information can be found at