Inefficiencies in Europe's fragmented airspace bring extra costs to airlines and their customers. They also significantly increase the distance of flights, forcing aircraft to burn more fuel thus generating more emissions and costs. Faced with these challenges, SESAR is developing technological and operational solutions to ensure a more cost efficient ATM system in the future.

In order to contribute to the reduction of air navigation service costs charged to airspace users, SESAR is mainly expected to bring enhanced cost efficiency through improving air navigation service (ANS) provision and reducing the costs of technology developments.

Improved service provision

To deal with increased traffic, air traffic controller (ATC) teams need to have the right tools to do their job efficiently and all the while maintaining the highest level of safety. That’s why the SESAR programme is developing solutions and concepts of operations that are seeking to optimise staff resources and increase service provision, such as sector team operations (e.g. multi-sector En-Route planner), enhancing ATFCM measures: reduction of protective buffers and complexity reduction, remote towers, enhanced conflict detection and resolution tools.

Cost-efficient technology

The lifecycle costs associated with the technology and systems required to support air navigation services are a major concern for ATM stakeholders. To achieve cost efficiency, SESAR concentrates on alternative technologies with lower replacement costs, greater interoperability between systems and reductions in general operating costs e.g. SWIM, satellite-based navigation and approach/landing.

By 2035, the SESAR performance ambition is to see a reduction of 30-40 % (or approximately EUR 290-380) of the cost per flight compared to 2012.The cost- efficiency ambition for SESAR, underpinned by ANS productivity improvements and infrastructure cost reduction, is spread approximately as follows:

  • Airport: EUR 50-80 per airport movement
  • Terminal and en-route: EUR 240-300 per IFR flight


SOURCE: European ATM Master Plan