Maurizio Castelletti contributed to the launch of the Single European Sky (SES) and authored the legislative process in the early 2000s. He was appointed SES Head of Unit within DG MOVE in 2011, at the start of the implementation phase of the second SES package. He spoke to Jane’s a few weeks before his departure in January 2019, after 15 years guiding development of European air traffic management (ATM), to become head of the Single European Railway Area Unit.
The first SES package was approved by EU member states, stakeholders, and industry in 2004, with high-level objectives of tripling airspace capacity, halving costs, and generating a 10-fold improvement in safety by 2020.
After a slow start, Castelletti said, the launch of the Single European Sky ATM Research Programme (SESAR) in 2007 “brought a paradigm shift”, with a partnership and innovation cycle linked to the SES policy. “This has delivered solutions but has yet to deliver the operational targets of the original concept. We have been accused by the Court of Auditors of being too technology-driven, without solutions that promote implementation or that are interoperable with other systems in the world.”
Castelletti believes these lessons can be learnt. “We can do this by using existing tools, I don’t think we have to ‘reinvent the wheel’. The Single Sky framework is still valid in my view but there needs to be a change in the way in which we implement this: a change in governance, a change in methodology.”
One major SES objective – to remove fragmentation – remains unfulfilled. “We still have 28 service providers and the same number of area control centres. National interest still prevails,” he argued.
“I see a compound lack of political will and persistence of monopoly service provision. Fragmentation is not only in service provision but also among airspace users and airports.
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