The European Commission (EC) has appointed the Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) Deployment Alliance to carry out modernisation of the European airspace to make it fit for the 21st century, which will cost approximately €3bn.

The alliance is a cross-industry partnership of four airline groups, operators of 25 airports and 11 air traffic control providers.

The SESAR deployment is a crucial part of the EC’s Single European Sky initiative, which aims at improving efficiency, lowering delays and raising environment performance.

The appointment of the SESAR Deployment Alliance was confirmed at a signing ceremony in Brussels where UK ANSP NATS CEO Richard Deakin signed the Framework Partnership Agreement with transport commissioner Violeta Bulc, on behalf of the SESAR Deployment Alliance.

"Today is a landmark day both for the Single European Sky and for European aviation."

Bulc said: "Today’s agreement is a great achievement for EU aviation, forever changing Europe’s air navigation system, making it smarter, cheaper, greener and safer.

"It also marks an important step towards the accomplishment of the Single European Sky. These projects will translate into economic benefits for the whole EU with a contribution of over €400bn to its GDP, the creation of over 300,000 new jobs and saving 50 million tons of CO² emissions."

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Deakin said: "Today is a landmark day both for the Single European Sky and for European aviation.

"This collaboration shows how committed all of us in the industry are to working together to modernise Europe’s airspace. We are all passionate about ensuring Europe’s aviation industry remains successful and this is a major step forward."

The initiative has been designed to improve the way Europe’s airspace is managed to minimise fuel burn, reduce unnecessary costs and make the most of Europe’s airport capacity.

Image: Commissioner Violeta Bulc with Richard Deakin at the signing of the Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) Deployment Alliance. Photo: courtesy of NATS.