The European Commission has adopted the Pilot Common Project, which will improve air traffic to and from airports, allow aircraft to fly more direct routes, and enable better sharing of data between airlines.
The set of changes is the first step in a series of projects outlined in the Single European Sky ATM research initiative (SESAR). They are expected to be in place by the end of the year.
The commission expects that these changes will bring about reduced fuel usage and increased productivity because of more efficient flight paths and better navigation services.
"We need to deliver ambitious reforms in what is by now an outdated air traffic management system,” the commission's vice president responsible for transport, Siim Kallas, stated. “The Pilot Common Project is a major milestone for SESAR and toward the achievement of the Single European Sky. Most importantly, it shows that we are able and willing to make the necessary changes."
The aim of SESAR is to cut air traffic-management costs in half; reduce the environmental impact of each flight by 10 percent; increase air capacity; and improve safety.