EU regulation has fostered air traffic management modernisation, according to a new report from the European Court of Auditors. But EU funding of projects was largely unnecessary and its management was affected by shortcomings, say the auditors.
In 2005, the EU launched a programme known as SESAR to harmonise and modernise air traffic management (ATM) systems and procedures across Europe. These systems have traditionally been developed at a national level. Overall, the EU has committed €3.8 billion to SESAR between 2005 and 2020, of which €2.5 billion was earmarked to support the deployment of such systems and procedures.
The auditors assessed how well the European Commission managed the deployment of SESAR and how it helped meet the objectives of the Single European Sky policy. They examined whether the EU’s intervention was designed to address existing and future needs and whether it added value to the management of air traffic in Europe.
“With on average 30 000 flights per day, air traffic in Europe required a robust, harmonised and modern management system”, said George Pufan, the Member of the European Court of Auditors responsible for the report. “However, the benefits from EU money spent in deploying SESAR are far from clear.”