Newsletter April 2012: Newsletter FLO – Aviation

Arthur Flieger, Attorney at Law Flieger Law Ofice bvba
With the cooperation of Stijn Brusseleers, Attorney at Law Flieger Law Office bvba




On December 2010 Belgium, France, Germany, Luxemburg, the Netherlands and Switzerland ratified the FABEC Agreement ( Functional Airspace Block Europe Central )

A Performance Plan has been drafted without a common FABEC ANSP Business Plan for the reference period 2012-2014 having been placed at National Supervisory Authority’s (NSA) disposal. This Plan contains elements of updated business plans 2011-2015 of the individual Air Navigation Services Providers in the FABEC-area. These are in line with the Amended Regulation 2096/2005 laying down common requirements for the provision of air navigation services, such as the overall aims and goals of the ANSP’s, their strategies to meeting them and taking into account the relevant European Union requirements for the development of infrastructure or other technology in the line to the ATM-Masterplan (Air Traffic Management ).

FABEC is one of the nine so called functional airspace blocks. These are airspace blocks in which the concerned countries will manage their airspace. Airspace blocks which are at this stage based on the domestic borders. This is one of the main cost efficiencies of the single European sky following Commission Regulation (EC) 691/2010 laying down a performance scheme for air navigation services and network functions.

The scope of the ATM-Masterplan is focused on the enroute service provision in the airspace of the six FABEC States ( = Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, The Netherlands and Switzerland )

In the first reference period ( January 2012 – 31 December 2014 ) the following parties are involved in FABEC activities:
– Seven ANSP’s: Belgocontrol, Belgium; Direction des Services de la Navigation Aérienne (DSNA), France; Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH (DFS), Germany; l’Administration de la Navigation Aerienne (ANA), Luxembourg; Air Traffic Control The Netherlands (LVNL), The Netherlands; Skyguide, Switzerland; Maastricht Upper Area Control Centre (MUAC), BENELUX and Germany.
– Military.
– MET-ANSP’s: Metéo France, France; Deutscher Wetterdienst (DWD), Germany; Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI), The Netherlands; Office Féderal de la Météorologie et de Climatologie MétéoSuisse, Switerland;
– NSAs : provisional FABEC Committees (Financial & Performance Committee and NSA Committee ) and the individual Member States’.

Airport operators within the FABEC-area are currently not taking part in the performance scheme, but have an import role in the monitoring and developing of Key Performance Indicators in the KPA Environment and Capacity.

At the end of 2012, those Functional Airspace Blocks will change the 27 International organisations such as EUROCONTROL and State authorities are included in this performance plan because of their responsibilities related to the Performance Scheme and because of the effect of their activities on the costs of air navigation service provision in the Flight Information Region in the FABEC area.

The contributions of the individual states to the FABEC Performance Plan concentrate on the Key Performance Area of Cost Efficiency as well as the additional national Key Performance Indicators and/or targets. In line with the FABEC States Agreement and Regulation 691/2010 ( Article 10.3 (e)) the civil-military dimension of the plan, in particular the performance of the flexible use of airspace in order to increase capacity with due regard to the military mission effectiveness (MME), mostly at national levels, is included in this plan.

The development of a number of Performance Indicators for safety, environment, capacity and cost efficiency to be used as Key Performance Indicators from the start of the second reference period (2015-2019) are also a core element of this plan.


2. Status of safety aviation
Every FABEC State should make a State Safety Program according to ICAO agreement. One will note however that these individual FABEC States’ SSPs are note harmonized yet, and the overall aviation safety is rather mature. Within FABEC all Air Navigation Service Providers work together to keep the airspace safe and aim to improve the levels of safety taking into account other Key Performance Areas such as cost-efficiency, capacity and environment. This process is required for a safe accommodation of the growth of the air traffic for the coming years. Needless to say that the States and the Air Navigation Service Providers are working closely together with the view to end in one virtual organization. It are not only the civil authorities, but also the military authorities who will join this initiative in order to satisfy the safety objectives set at European level. In a first stage the harmonisation will be concentrated on the level of the Air Navigation Service Providers and the States and safety occurrence handling. This all in line with the European requirements.

As required by EC Regulation 1315/2007, the national supervisory authorities shall issue a safety directive when it has determined the existence of an unsafe condition in a functional system requiring immediate action. For instance Belgium, Germany and Switzerland have not any pending safety directive while France and Luxembourg have.

For France there is a safety directive on Wake Turbulence separations to be applied for A380 and B747-800 aircraft types, and for Luxembourg there is a safety directive on traffic restrictions under low-visibility procedures for the Luxembourg Airport.


3. Consultation Process
In April 2011 FABEC States launched a stakeholder consultation process as required by Regulation EC 691/2010. This took place on national and FABEC level.

Based on EC Regulation 691/2010 in accordance with 549/2004 the stakeholders addressed and invited are:
– Airspace users
– Staff representatives
– Air navigation service providers
– Airport Council International (observer )
– Performance Review Body (observer )

It will take us too far to discuss in detail the several comments, however the comments raised by the different stakeholders can be divided into two groups:

3.1. General aspects covering political issues, general statements etc.
One can say that the feedback received from the different stakeholders is not uniform and is even contradictory.

The Airspace users stated that in their point of view FABEC is not delivering the performance promised neither in the actual project nor in the targets proposed. They are also missing clear accountabilities and processes. There is in their view a lack of commitment, which will endanger the overall EC-target and Single European Sky II. The staff representatives’ views ( MARC, ETF and IFATSEA) are contradictory. ETF ( representing Belgium and France ) did not support the EC-targets for the reference period I and believed they need some modification. FABEC performance was supported through increased cooperation. MARC stated clearly that improvements are possible, however the FABEC Performance Plan will fail as long as institutional questions and a final objective are not defined.

The Air Navigation Service Providers declare that they are committed to the FABEC Performance Plan. There are in their view some ambitions, which are not unrealistic to be reached. However in their view the target setting on different levels will lead to conflicts.

3.2. Specific issues raised
– They are disappointed that the bottom up approach presented by the FABEC Air Navigation Service Providers does not guarantee convergence with the EU-wide target set by the Commission. The users agreed not to set financial incentives on capacity performance in the first reference period. They had also a question mark in case where the considered non-financial incentive would not deliver and bring the performance back to the targets after a first infringement of a yearly target.
– The EU-wide targets are in their view unrealistic, and the States should consider more realistic targets.

There are also some remarks in respect of the environment, as well as with respect to the cost efficiency and safety.


4. What about the Military
In a statement of January 2010 by civil and military authorities it’s stated that within the FABEC Treaty the contracting State shall implement a Performance Plan taking into account civil need as well as military mission effectiveness. The FABEC armed forces are deeply involved in joint AFTCM/ASM live trial preparation. Also there are important contributions in “en Route” network improvements striving to create cross border training areas aiming to increase the fulfillment of civil and military needs.

The military should also consider the need to make the airspace available sufficiently in advance in order to be effectively planned. However one will note that the planning processes are different from State to State. Those processes have to balance civil and military needs, what complicates the way to find the adequate delay to notify released airspace. Nevertheless, in the second reference period a Key Performence Indicator will be implemented on effective use of the civil/military airspace structure which will partially deal with this issue, since Belgium was the only one to have quantitative targets on the Military Mission Effectiveness (MME) the reason being that Belgium had sufficient consolidated data. The other countries had apparently not. It’s clear that there is some work to be done here.

Indicators were developed to measure the efficiency of the FUA process, in order to ensure Military Mission Effectiveness (MME). They will evaluate the military training capabilities and readiness postures as required by States, in regard of capacity and environment performance. The rationale of having additional MME KPIs and PIs within FABEC is developed within Chapter 4.

For the first reference period, 3 KPIs and 4 PIs are being further developed. A complete, detailed description of the MME KPIs and PIs can be found in the FABEC Military Performance Handbook.


5. KPA “Military Mission effectiveness
Even if the Booking principles become harmonized, civil/military cooperation models applied are different from one State to another. Calculation formulas are common, but, due to the disparity of procedures and ASM systems, reference data to put in are different. As a consequence, comparison and aggregation of all data at FABEC level are not relevant.

Therefore, at least for the beginning of the first reference period (RPI), each State will have its own performance targets on KPIs attached to KPA MME. These performance targets are expected to be provided at FABEC level for the second reference period.

So, the FABEC military have the following general objectives:
– Harmonize reference data for measurement and analysis
– Ensure repository of data
– Look for FUA best practices
– Strive to define MME objectives at FABEC level for RP2


6. FABEC Performance Indicator
The first European Union-wide environment Key Performer Indicator (KPI) is average horizontal en route flight efficiency. This indicator is defined as the difference between the length of the en route part of the actual trajectory and the optimum trajectory which, in average, is the great circle. For FABEC specifically there are currently 4 major airspace projects ongoing, and once implemented, these projects will contribute to improved flight efficiency. Instead of setting a FABEC target of this EU-Wide KPI, FABEC have decided to use a FABEC Performance Indicator for intra-FABEC traffic, in order to reflect a FABEC dimension of this indicator.

Other FABEC KPI’s are :
– Percentage of route extension represented in distance flown compared to the great circle distance;
– Approach procedure in place supporting Continuous Descent Operations (CDO) (ICAO Doc 9931)
– Military dimension – flexible use of airspace ( FUA )

The FUA Concept has stated that airspace is no longer designated as “civil” or “military” airspace, but considered as one continuum and allocated according to user requirements. The FUA concept, enhancing civil/military co-ordination, allows the maximum shared use of airspace. Thus, it provides the Air Traffic Management (ATM) system with the potential to increase capacity and improve the environmental performance, while taking due account of Military Mission Effectiveness (MME).


7. Improvement of FUA, measures planned

7.1. Civil/Military dimension of the Plan
The FUA Concept has stated that airspace is no longer designated as “civil” or “military” airspace, but considered as one continuum and allocated according to user requirements. The FUA Concept, enhancing civil/military co-ordination, allows the maximum shared use of airspace. Thus, it provides the Air Traffic Management (ATM) system with the potential to increase capacity and improve the environmental performance, while taking due account of Military Mission Effectiveness (MME).

7.2. Improvement of FUA, measures planned
According to the FABEC Treaty, the Contracting States shall cooperate at legal, operational and technical level for the efficient and consistent application of the concept of flexible use of airspace (FUA) taking into account both civil and military requirements.

Within this perspective, FABEC States strive to elaborate harmonized airspace booking principles. Thus, FABEC will be provided with a common airspace planning process and timeframe, enhancing coordination between Civil and Military. Nevertheless, applied procedures are different from one State to another. Therefore, during the first reference period, each member State will enhance its current procedures using generic rules defined at FABEC level, as necessary.


8. Epilogue
There is still a lot to be done and a political cooperation will be required in order, whatever one may say, to see that FABEC will be implemented as it should.


For further information and comment, please contact Arthur Flieger at, Website:, telephone: +32 3 238 77 66


Copyright A. Flieger