The Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) Joint Undertaking, a public-private partnership in air traffic management (ATM) research and development founded by the European Commission and EUROCONTROL, has signed 16 contracts, totalling €1.9 B for the creation of Europe’s future ATM system. These contracts mark the beginning of the execution of the SESAR programme.

Based on the Single European Sky legislative package, the mission of the SESAR Joint Undertaking (SJU) is to ensure the modernisation of the European air traffic management system by coordinating and concentrating all relevant research and development efforts in Europe. By 2020, SESAR aims to create the capability to handle a threefold increase in traffic in Europe, while improving safety by a factor of ten.

“In the context of a global recession, the financing and timely development of SESAR has become literally vital,” commented Antonio Tajani, Commission Vice-president in charge of transport. “Public-private funding kicks in to support ATM research and development at a time when global economic uncertainty is prompting businesses to manage their cash with extreme caution. On top of green and safety objectives, SESAR will also contribute to the viability of the entire sector, as it will cut air transport operating costs in the longer term.”