European ATM Master Plan

The European ATM Master Plan is the agreed roadmap that connects ATM research and development activities with deployment scenarios to achieve the performance objectives of the Single European Sky. The initial version of the European ATM Master Plan, resulting from the first phase of the SESAR project's definition process, constitutes the basis for the development and deployment activities of the SESAR project.


This initial Master Plan was endorsed by the Council on 30 March 2009. A first important update of the ATM Master Plan, approved in 2012, identifies the "Essential Operational Changes" that need to be implemented for the full deployment of the new SESAR concept by 2030. A second important update, approved on 15 December 2015, refines the vision bringing together performance and technology with an extended horizon up to 2035. It makes reference to the key features of the SESAR 2020 Research and Innovation programme  and to the Pilot Common Project . The role of the human and the approach to change management are highlighted whilst two specific topics impacting ATM are introduced: cyber security and drones. It also fosters a more comprehensive military involvement.

Each update of the ATM Master Plan reactivates the definition process, which adapts the requirements of the new ATM systems to the evolving SES performance objectives, and to the operational reality, and feeds these requirements into the subsequent SESAR processes (R&D and deployment).

Download the latest version of the European ATM Master Plan (Available in English, French, Spanish, Russian, Arabic and Chinese).

New elements in this edition

This latest edition incorporates several supporting and complementary studies and analyses:

A proposal on the future architecture of the European airspace was developed by the SESAR Joint Undertaking (SJU) (18), with the support of the Network Manager, and delivered to the European Commission in February 2019. Known as the Airspace Architecture Study, the proposal seeks to address the airspace capacity challenge in the short to long term by combining airspace configuration and design with technologies to decouple service provision from local infrastructure and progressively increase the levels of collaboration and automation support. The intention is to ensure that airspace is optimised according to operational needs, regardless of flight information regions (FIRs) or national boundaries. The content, approach and key milestones of the study are fully synchronised with, and make use of, the technology that is being developed within the SESAR programme, combined with operational improvements. This is made clear throughout this edition of the Master Plan, in which interrelations between the supporting technological roadmaps are duly identified and assessed to highlight the critical path, in terms of dependencies and timelines, to achieving the defragmentation of European skies through virtualisation and the free flow of data among trusted users across the network. The sovereignty, responsibility and liability issues are important aspects that are addressed by the European Commission in a specific study.

The roadmap for the safe integration of drones into all classes of airspace was adopted by the SESAR Administrative Board in March 2018 (19). It outlines which drone-related research and development (18) (19) SJU, European ATM Master Plan — roadmap for the safe integration of drones into all classes of airspace (https:// INTRODUCTION 13 (R&D) activities should be prioritised in order to support the expansion of the drone market and achieve the smooth, safe and fair integration of these new aircraft systems into the European airspace. This includes U-space, a framework designed to fast-track the development and implementation of a drone management system, in particular for but not limited to very low-level (VLL) airspace, as well as provisions to integrate large remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) into manned traffic. The key elements of this roadmap have been incorporated into this edition of the Master Plan.

A more integrated air-ground roadmap to enable improvements in aviation infrastructure and in particular a move towards performance-oriented communications, navigation and surveillance (CNS) infrastructure was developed. It details the capabilities that make up the future CNS infrastructure and services, as well as steps to integrate and rationalise CNS systems and technologies in order to increase their performance, in terms of costs, coverage and spectrum use. The roadmap provides a timeline, aligned with the four phases of the Master Plan, for the rollout of the future CNS infrastructure.

The definition of phase D of Master Plan, for the delivery by 2040 of a fully scalable system able to handle both manned and unmanned aviation in line with the joint industry declaration ‘Towards the digital European sky’. This includes the high-level identification of related future R&D and investment needs. Linked to this, an ATM automation model that mirrors the five-level model from the Society of Automotive Engineers (ranging from Level 0, ‘no automation’, to Level 5, ‘full automation’) was developed. The model illustrates the level of automation anticipated for each phase of the Master Plan.

An updated assessment of the macroeconomic impact of SESAR, considering the broader impact of changes or costs related to the modernisation of aviation infrastructure. This includes an assessment of passenger benefits and other impacts on society driven by SESAR (e.g. environmental impacts).


Previous editions of the Master Plan