The unification of Europe is now moving skyward, as the region's air traffic control system becomes more integrated and unified. Airbus is an important element of this pan-European effort, participating in the Air Traffic Alliance association, which also includes EADS and Thales.
Airbus is taking a leading role in an important pan-European project, the Single European Sky Air traffic management Research (SESAR) that will lead to the creation of a single sky over Europe.
Uniting more than 50 companies and associations, including the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Air France-KLM, Lufthansa, EADS and Thales, the project will define what is required for the single sky and ensure it works smoothly with other systems across the world.
SESAR's project management is handled by the Air Traffic Alliance (ATA), an association that brings together Airbus, EADS and Thales. Over the next two years, the ATA and its project partners will analyse the European aviation market and identify what is needed to create a more effective and integrated air traffic management architecture. It will also identify and select which kinds of technologies and systems will be appropriate. The SESAR air traffic management master plan will be the main result of this "definition phase" and will be available by 2008.
It is the first time these European aviation players, along with the European safety agency Eurocontrol, have come together to define and implement an improvement programme that covers the whole continent and connects it to the rest of the world. It is believed that further growth in passengers could be limited without improvements in the continentâ€™s air traffic management system - as a tripling of passengers in Europe is predicted by 2020.