Functional Airspace Blocks - FAB
Belgocontrol also intends to play a proactive part as regards the obligation to rearrange the airspace into functional airspace blocks (FAB).
The objective of the European Single Sky is indeed to reorganise air traffic management (ATM) in Europe to obtain a flexible network, harmonised and homogenous, independent of national boundaries and composed of Functional Airspace Blocks (FAB). In order to create this new European ATM network and to increase capacity, safety and economic efficiency, the EU member states must create Functional Airspace Blocks (FAB) (Airspace Regulation CE 551/2004). The FABs must be based on operational needs and integrate the civil and military airspace, without taking into account the national boundaries.
FAB Europe Central: feasibility study
Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, joined afterwards by France and Switzerland, decided to launch a feasibility study in July 2006 for a FAB in the airspace of these countries. This project involved the civil and military authorities and the air navigation service providers (ANSPs):
- Belgocontrol, Belgium ;
- Direction des Services de la Navigation Aérienne (DSNA), France ;
- Deutsche Flugsicherung (DFS), Germany ;
- Maastricht Upper Area Control center (MUAC) Eurocontrol/Maastricht/Nederland ;
- l'Administration de la Navigation Aérienne du Luxembourg, Luxembourg ;
- Luchtverkeersleiding Nederland (LVNL), The Netherlands ;
- skyguide, Switzerland.
At the end of June 2008, this study delivered its conclusions. The final report emphasized not only the feasibility of the project, but also the necessity of its implementation.
The FAB Europe Central project and the feasibility study are built on a common vision: to create, thanks to common development of a functional airspace block (FAB) that encompasses the airspace of these six States, common solutions, aimed at performances and independent of national borders. The final objective of creating the FAB Europe Central is to make the airspace of these six States into one continuum, centred around safety, economic efficiency and sustainable development. In order to achieve such a result, the seven ANSPs must unify their operational performances and adopt ATM procedures that allow a maximum of airspace operations to the benefit of the civil and military users.
The creation of a FAB calls for a close cooperation between both the civil and the military as well as between the ANSPs in question. This collaboration can, among other things, be accomplished in the field of airspace management, but also on the level of technical systems and communication. The feasibility study has opened ways of thinking to organise the cooperation such that all participating ANSPs benefit from the progress made.
Summary of the results of the feasability study: Creating FAB Europe Central
FABEC: new phase
The conclusions of the feasibility study have heralded a new phase for the FABEC that will be led by the States together with the air navigation service providers, both civil and military.
Declaration of Intent of the States and Agreement on Cooperation between 7 ANSPs
High-level civil and military representatives from Belgium, Germany, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Switzerland signed, on 18 November 2008 at the European Aviation summit at Bordeaux, a Declaration of Intent to jointly build up a common functional airspace block, called FABEC (Functional Airspace Block Europe Central).
- Press release from the Belgian State (Mobility and Transport/Defence): only available in French and Dutch
- Background info on the FABEC Feasibility Study: Straight to the point - How FAB Europe Central can change the way we fly
- Background info on FABs: the Functional Airspace Blocks in the Single European Sky
Taking into account the positive results of the feasibility study report, the signatories intend to jointly finalise an international agreement as the main institutional framework for the construction and implementation of FABEC. This agreement will be ready to be signed in 2010 at the latest, and enter into force after its ratification.
In parallel, the civil air navigation services designated in these countries signed an agreement which will be the basis for first and immediate steps of cooperation. The goal of this common initiative is to set up an airspace among the six States where air traffic management is organised irrespective of national borders but according to operational needs.