Functional Airspace Blocks – FABs

23 Sep 2017

Air traffic management in the European Union is still largely organised in national boundaries. The establishment of functional airspace blocks (FABs) was aimed by the Commission at fostering increased cooperation between and the integration of air navigation service providers, irrespective of national borders.

A Functional Airspace Block (FAB) is defined in the Single European Sky legislative package as an airspace block based on operational requirements and established regardless of State boundaries where the provision of air navigation services and related functions is optimised through enhanced cooperation among air navigation service providers.

9 FAB initiatives have been established to date:

  • North European FAB (NEFAB): Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Norway
  • Denmark-Sweden: Denmark, Sweden
  • BALTIC FAB Poland, Lithuania
  • FAB Europe Central (FABEC): France, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg and Switzerland
  • FAB Central Europe (FABCE): Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • DANUBE: Bulgaria and Romania
  • BLUE MED: Italy, Malta, Greece, Cyprus, as well as Egypt, Tunisia, Albania and Jordan as observer
  • UK- IRELAND: FAB United Kingdom and Ireland
  • South West FAB (SW FAB): Portugal and Spain

ETF defends that FABs should only be established where there was a clear operational advantage and a pragmatic approach to each FAB was more likely to produce sustainable improvements. Besides, as it is stated in the Palermo Agreement in 2004 (between ATM Social Partners and considered the pathfinder for the implementation of changes in European ATM), social dialogue is vital for the future progress of the FABs. Therefore, in 2012 ETF, ATCEUC and CANSO  agreed to publish a common « Guidelines for Consultation arrangements for FABs”.

For all the FABs, ETF developed he “Co-op Model” which is the ETF vison in the short and long term perspective for sustainable FABs both for the providers and their employees. The aims of the “Co-op Model” are as follows:

  • to improve safety
  • to increase capacity, flight efficiency, cost-effectiveness, reducing environmental impact
  • to address fragmentation through cooperation
  • to address and secure the social consequences of FAB implementation