The Single European Sky

The Single European Sky (SES) is an EU project to streamline the management of European airspace. In practice this means moving from a purely national management of airspace and air traffic, towards a series of Functional Airspace Blocks which cross national borders. In all this, the aim is to cut costs and drive the introduction of new technologies in air traffic management (ATM).

Of course the SES vision would mean profound changes for ATM workers, but the ETF is in favour of an SES that is safe, efficient and socially responsible. That means change must come gradually and be undertaken in a considered and measured way. Therefore, we are strongly against forced further liberalisation. Decision on this should be left up to the individual member states. Likewise, any cooperation between providers should be on a voluntary basis and not top-down. Changes should not bring unrealistic service targets or damage the terms and conditions of ATM employees.

The SES project began in 2001, but in 2013 the Commission proposed a series of revisions (the SES II+) which would fragment ATM service providers, impose unreasonable performance requirements based on cost cuts, and undermine quality jobs in ATM support services. Above all, the reform propose a FAB system with no human aspect to recognise the needs and rights of ATM workers. None of this would support the original aims of the SES, and could indeed lead to greater inefficiency or even safety risks.

As a result, ETF affiliates launched industrial actions and strikes in 11 countries, demanding the establishment of a fair, cooperative and social Single European Sky. Our actions provoked major debates in the European Parliament and between member states, which led to revisions of the Commission proposals. However, the final SES II+ legislation remained disappointing, with excessive liberalisation and insufficient attention to safety concerns.

The Single European Sky is a defining policy in EU aviation, with huge consequences for ATM workers and passenger safety. The ETF is determined to continue our efforts for a Single European Sky that respects safety and social concerns

In Focus

Info September 23, 2017

Functional Airspace Blocks – FABs

Fostering increased cooperation between and the integration of air navigation service providers, irrespective of national borders.

Latest news

Press Release April 26, 2022

Collapse of EU Air Traffic Management social dialogue

Successful implementation of the Single European Sky directly depends on the adoption of a social and human dimension roadmap for the SES that can only be achieved with the full commitment of all parties.

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Collapse of EU Air Traffic Management social dialogue

Successful implementation of the Single European Sky directly depends on the adoption of a social and human dimension roadmap for the SES that can only be achieved with the full commitment of all parties.

Press Release
26 Apr 2022

European Trade Union Representatives support Decarbonisation of Aviation and call for Social Sustainability to underpin a just transition towards Carbon-Neutrality

The ETF, ETUC, EFFAT, UNI Europa, IndustriAll Europe and ECA welcome the Toulouse Declaration on future sustainability and decarbonisation in aviation, which was adopted on 4 February 2022 the Aviation Summit under the French presidency of the Council of the EU.
The resilience of air transport in the context of the health crisis, the reduction of the sector’s carbon footprint and the technological and social impact of these challenges were broadly debated during the two-day flagship event for aviation of the French Presidency.

Press Release
7 Feb 2022

A brother in need can always count on our solidarity!

It is utterly unacceptable for Brussels Airlines to use such a dirty attack against its own workers. There seems to be no limit in the company’s threats to put the cost of a strike they are legally entitled to organise on the worker’s shoulders

Statement
18 Dec 2021

SAS pilots are not disposable

The European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) stands in solidarity with SAS pilots and their unions and condemns actions being taken by SAS that worsen income and working condition for workers

News
25 Oct 2021