In this audit we reviewed selected key components of the Single European Sky (SES) initiative, which aims at improving the overall performance of Air Traffic Management (ATM).
Overall, we conclude that the initiative addressed a clear need and has led to a greater culture of efficiency in ATM. However, European airspace management remains fragmented and the SES as a concept has not yet been achieved. Navigation charges have not been substantially reduced and ATM-related delays have started to increase again. The SES’s technological pillar, the SESAR project, promoted coordination and is gradually releasing technological improvements, but has fallen behind its initial schedule and has become significantly more costly than anticipated. In substance, the EU’s intervention in SESAR has evolved from one with a target deadline for achievement to a more open-ended commitment.
We make a number of recommendations to the European Commission and the Member States to help improve the effectiveness of the SES.