Common Project 1 – a new European regulation ensuring the continuation of sustainable ATM modernisation and digitalization through SESAR deployment

European Commission Implementing Regulation no. 116/2021, Common Project 1 (CP1), amending Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 409/2013 and repealing Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 716/2014 known as the Pilot Common Project was published today into the EU Official Journal. CP1 aims to steer Air Traffic Management (ATM) modernisation in Europe. The SESAR Deployment Manager will now break down the CP1 into a brand new SESAR Deployment Programme 2021, turning the regulation into a concrete manual to guide operational stakeholders on what has to be done, how, where and by when, with the aim to accelerate the digitalisation of the European ATM towards a greener aviation.

The CP1 Regulation is entering into force on the 20th day after its publication into the EU Official Journal, meaning on 22/02/2021.

A Single European Sky

The Single European Sky’s ATM Research project, “SESAR”, is one of the most ambitious modernisation projects launched by the European Union, contributing to the implementation of the Single European Sky. SESAR’s goal is to define, develop and deploy the technological solutions needed to increase the performance and digitalisation of Europe’s ATM system in the most cost-, flight-efficient and environmentally friendly conditions.

The adoption of the Reg. (EU) n. 716/2014 (Pilot Common Project or “PCP”), the establishment of the SESAR Deployment Manager as per Reg. (EU) n. 409/2013, as well as the subsequent elaboration of the initial SESAR Deployment Programme, marked all together a key step towards the Deployment Phase of SESAR. More than six years after the beginning of this deployment phase in 2014, the modernisation of the European ATM systems and infrastructure is an operational reality. More importantly, it is delivering its expected performance benefits to the aviation community, its stakeholders and in turn to European passengers, citizens and economy.

Pilot Common Project

This Pilot Common Project (PCP) represented a first exercise for common projects in the deployment of the Single European Sky. The deployment framework of the PCP is overseen by the SESAR Deployment Manager (SDM) function, playing a key role in the monitoring, coordination and synchronisation of the implementation projects involving a wide range of ATM stakeholders. The responsibility of the SDM function also lies in the translation of any Common Project regulation into a comprehensive project view, which is fulfilled through the SESAR Deployment Programme.

The 1st SESAR Deployment Programme, delivered in 2015, marked a significant milestone in the ATM modernisation efforts, kicking off the Pilot Common Project deployment. This first SESAR Deployment Programme had the important task to define how Air Traffic Management in Europe could be modernised, namely through the coordinated and synchronised efforts of the European ATM community. SDM has played a leading role in the coordination, synchronisation and monitoring of SESAR deployment projects in Europe.

Common Project 1

While 2020 has been marked by the COVID-19 crisis, which has made the aviation industry face unprecedented challenges, the intense pilot phase (PCP Regulation) of implementing new technological and operational ATM solutions will now evolve to Common Project 1 (CP1) accelerating the digitalisation of the European ATM towards a greener aviation.

After an extended review of the PCP, backed by a thorough consultation of the operational stakeholders through the SDM consultation mechanism, the need to amend the Regulation was highlighted, with the goal to accelerate even further ATM modernisation and keep ensuring the buy-in of the ATM stakeholders. CP1 builds upon the achievements and the lessons learned from the pilot phase to continue the modernisation efforts of the European ATM industry and deliver a more scalable and environmentally sustainable ATM system.

CP1 contains the ATM functionalities and sub-functionalities confirmed to be in compliance with the criteria defined in Reg. (EU) n. 409/2013, outlining two categories of functionalities:

  1. The ATM functionalities and sub-functionalities that have reached suitable maturity for their implementation, requiring synchronization of activities and addressing the essential operational changes defined in the EU ATM MP. A specific implementation timeline has been set for these ATM functionalities and sub-functionalities, with the overall final implementation deadline set to the 31st of December 2027.
  2. The ATM functionalities and sub-functionalities that will not be ready for implementation by their induction into a common project yet are still considered to be essential components of said project, for which CP1 will enable the introduction of industrialisation target dates.

As for the former PCP, the SESAR Deployment Manager will continue to play a central role in managing and coordinating the modernisation of European Air Traffic Management, by ensuring that the CP1 regulation is implemented in a timely and synchronised manner. From March to July 2021, the SDM will elaborate and consult a new proposal for the SESAR Deployment Programme 2021: the document will represent the blueprint for all ATM investments to deploy CP1, defining a common roadmap and an agreed work plan for implementation in Europe.

Furthermore, the SDM has already played a key role in the revision of the Cost Benefit Analysis for CP1 due to the COVID-19 crisis, which has recently been received positively by the Single Sky Committee, contributing to the adoption of the CP1 Regulation by the European Commission. The original CP1 proposal CBA scope presented a scenario that was no longer likely to happen, and this CBA update bases itself on a 5-year traffic recovery scenario for the European airspace. The overall positive results shown in this recovery plan showcase the general robustness of the CP1 regulation.

New SESAR Deployment Programme and consultation with the ATM stakeholders impacted by CP1 implementation

By the end of July 2021, the SDM will release the updated proposal for the SESAR Deployment Programme edition 2021 and its guidance material, namely the SDP Planning View 2021, to the European Commission.

The 2021 Edition of the SESAR Deployment Programme will be fully aligned with the content of the new CP1 regulation: it will work as the foundation to guarantee the smooth continuation of ATM modernisation.

On top of the delivery of the SESAR Deployment Programme 2021, the SESAR Deployment Manager will release the SDP Planning View 2021, a complementary document – to be updated yearly – that will further detail the content of the SDP. Through these documents, the SDM will continue the coordination of ATM modernisation in 2021 and beyond and will guide stakeholders towards successful implementation.

The SESAR Deployment Manager will be fully consulted with operational stakeholders through the Stakeholder Consultation Platform (SCP) and with the Cooperative Arrangements partners with whom SDM has concluded specific cooperative arrangements meant to support SDP activities. In the last 6 years of SDM activity, the consultation processes performed under the SCP demonstrated to be a unique consultation mechanism in its capability to create buy-in and consensus amongst stakeholders required to invest and implement Common Projects. With this goal, the consultation of the SESAR Deployment Programme edition 2021 and Planning View 2021 is planned to be conducted from mid-March 2021 to mid-July 2021 for a timely delivery of these two documents to the European Commission at the end of July 2021.