At the beginning of the year, the COVID-19 crisis swept the world and severely impacted many industries, including the air transport sector, with ongoing repercussions that could drastically change the aviation landscape for years to come.
In response to this escalating international crisis, the SESAR Deployment Manager launched a survey measuring the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on all stakeholders in order to draw up the SESAR Deployment Recovery Plan, a portfolio of viable solutions to mitigate this unparalleled crisis which practically paralyzed the entire aviation sector.
SESAR Deployment Managers has been closely monitoring the ever-changing environment that the aviation industry is now experiencing and are fully aware of the effect of the COVID-19 crisis on the air-transport sector and on SESAR deployment in particular. As the aftermath on staff level reaches unprecedented proportions and poses many challenges and threats to our Implementing Partners, we keep in mind at all times that the focus of deployment stakeholders may not currently be on SESAR ATM modernization but on immediate actions helping them to stay afloat and prepare for a post-crisis recovery. As all EU aviation stakeholders are facing an almost total collapse of air traffic, connectivity and revenues, providing them more room for maneuver is paramount.
Therefore, we are glad to announce that we have agreed with the European Commission and INEA on a set of measures that will already support SESAR deployment Implementing Partners in resuming the activities related to their SESAR ATM modernisation projects through and benefitting from a reduction of the administrative tasks for SESAR Implementing Partners.
The mitigation measures will allow our stakeholders more time to complete their SESAR deployment Implementation Project(s).
The measures focus on:
- reducing the administrative tasks that have to be completed for each of the projects which will provide the stakeholders more time to focus on the core of their projects
- prolongation of the actions to which the projects belong by 1 to 2 years, which will have a positive effect on the investment capacity for deployment. Extending most of the deadlines for implementation projects will provide more time for all impacted stakeholders to finalize the full implementation of their projects and contribute to a more resilient ATM in Europe.
- a reduced project monitoring gate in September 2020, which will support our stakeholders to cope with the important reduction of available staff to execute the monitoring of their projects and allow to focus all manpower on restarting the SESAR deployment related activities.
It is also worth mentioning that SESAR deployment Implementing Partners, in line with the second INEA information note to CEF beneficiaries on corona virus, dated 8th of May and published on INEA’s website, private beneficiaries who are not eligible for any national support scheme, may liaise with INEA to explore on an individual basis whether an extraordinary additional pre-financing could be made.
The implementation of these concrete measures aims to develop an enhanced environment to restart air-transport activities and to facilitate SESAR deployment. Despite the tremendous effect of the pandemic on the aviation industry, we receive with gratitude the fact that our stakeholders are still committed to ATM modernization and continue to consider the deployment of SESAR as a key instrument to support this mission through and after this crisis.
In return, SESAR Deployment Manager remains fully committed to work together with all stakeholders to secure positive measures to go through this crisis and form a strong basis for the aviation industry to resume activities post-crisis. Maintaining both continuous support to our Implementing Partners and continuity in ATM modernization remains our priority. Liaising with the European Commission and INEA for identification of any further possible support measures towards our stakeholders represents a continuous action.