Drivers for Change

Strategic Objectives such as Safety, Capacity, Flight or ATM Efficiency, Harmonisation, Environmental mitigation and Access will trigger a need to make an airspace change.

While some strategic objectives may be explicitly identified, others may be implicit. Whilst operational requirements may be considered as national ATM or flight operations requirements, it is to be noted that some strategic objectives have political or geo-political origins.  This section will look at the global and regional drivers for change.

In 2007, the ICAO General Assembly at its 36th meeting resolved that States should start using the newly published PBN Manual and that they should develop PBN Implementation Plans that, when completed, were to be lodged with the ICAO Regional offices; the General Assembly set a target date for this to have been completed of 2009.  The Assembly also resolved that States should introduce APproaches with Vertical Guidance (APV), either using barometric altimetry or SBAS for the vertical path positioning, for every Instrument Runway End (IRE).  ICAO set a target date for global completion of 2016.  These resolutions were published as 36-23.

In 2010, at the 37th General Assembly ICAO recognised that there was slow development of State Implementation Plans and that a level of clarification on APV deployment was required.  Therefore, the ICAO GA published the 37-11 resolution which superseded 36-23 but reinforced its objectives.  The target date for a total global introduction of APVs had been set for the end of 2016 and that date remained.

Although within ECAC we have not achieved this global objective yet, it is the reason that RNP APCH introduction at all IREs has been mandated in European Single Sky legislation.  The Performance-based Navigation Implementing Regulations (PBN IR) requires all contracting Member States to put a RNP APCH with vertical guidance (3D operation) to each IRE; however, the dates set are 2020 and 2024.

The European Commission published the first legislative package of the Single European Sky (SES) in 2004 and enhanced with a second package in 2009.  The expected benefits of the SES are as follows:

  • Improved level of safety of air navigation
  • A more effective and integrated air traffic management architecture
  • Demand driven air navigation service provision
  • Enhanced cross-boarder co-ordination
  • Improved decision-making and enhanced enforcement in ATM.

To meet these goals and to comply with ICAO's 37-11 resolution, in the area of navigation, the European Commission published 2 legal instruments: The Pilot Common Project Implementing Regulation (EU 716/2014) and The PBN Implementing Regulation (EU 2018/1048). The PCP IR has been superseded by Common Project One Implementing Regulation (EU 2021/116).

The European Commission published Common Project One Implementing Regulation (EU 2021/116) in the EU’s Official Journal on 2 February 2021; it is commonly known as CP1.  This Implementing Regulation supersedes its predecessor entitled ‘Pilot Common Project’ (known as the PCP IR EU 716/2014).

CP1 has significantly adjusted PBN requirements on the top 25 aerodromes of the European region, which had been identified in ATM Functionalities 1 (AF#1) of the PCP IR.

CP1 AF#1 contains no requirements for RNP 1 SIDs/STARs to be implemented at the 18 EU aerodromes now identified in this Regulation; however, the target date for implementation of RNP APCH to all Instrument Runway Ends remains 25 January 2024 as enacted through Article 7 of the PBN IR.  In addition, AF#3 addressing Free Routes Airspace (FRA) has been amended from the original requirements set out in the PCP IR. CP 1 calls for two levels of FRA implementation as follows:

  • Initial FRA at least above FL305 (time and structure constraints permitted)  - 31 Dec 2022
  • Final FRA (constant implementation, with X-Border & TMA connectivity)       - 31 Dec 2025

In accordance with ICAO Doc 7030, operations within FRA will be RNAV 5.

For full details on CP 1, refer to EU 2021/116, which can be found here.


Performance-based Navigation (PBN) Implementing Regulation (EU 2018/1048)

There are three distinct timeframes identified in the PBN Rule.  The table to the right identifies the timeframe and the associated reference in EASA's AUR.PBN.2005 Routes and Procedures.

The Rule requires the State to sign off a transition plan which has been developed by the Service Provider in consultation with the aerodrome operators, airspace users, the Network Manager and other interested parties.  This plan should form one element of the national PBN Implementation Plan which is then submitted to the ICAO Regional Office.

Article 7 of the PBN IR requires that RNP APCHs, be published at all PCP airports by 25 January 2024. When the PCP was published, there were 24+1 airports identified (one of these being a Third Country airport). Although the PCP IR has been cancelled, CP1 has retained AF#1 without covering PBN i.e. CP1 no longer includes a PBN requirement. However, the 18 aerodromes listed in CP1 AF#1 are the EU aerodromes to which the PBN IR Article 7, RNP APCH provisions apply for 25 January 2024 (this is an AIRAC cycle date).

All RNP APCHs published will require three minima lines (LNAV, LNAV/VNAV and LPV) where it is possible to do so.  States who do not yet fall inside the APV 1 Service Area as defined in the EGNOS Safety of Life (SoL) Service Definition document (SDD), will have 18 months to implement the LPV line when that service area expands to incorporate the State.

For rotorcraft, service providers have the option to apply RNP0.3, RNP 1 or RNAV 1 for their SID/STAR procedures and en-route operations.

The Network Operations Plan has been developed in the context of the Network Management Functions, by the areas concerned with European ATM Network Operations Planning and Management. This Plan covers the activities planned and required to enhance European network operational performance over the period 2023-2027, and will be updated on a yearly basis or as deemed necessary. The Network Operations Plan implements, at operational level, the Network Strategy Plan and the Network Performance Plan.

The Plan provides a short to medium-term outlook of how the ATM Network will operate, including expected performance at network and local level. It gives details of capacity and flight efficiency enhancement measures planned at network level and by each Area Control Centre (ACC), as well as a description of the airport performance assessment and improvement measures that are planned at those airports that generate a relatively high level of delay.

EUROCONTROL provides a Portal, which is designed to meet users’ needs for accessible, ‘one-stop-shop’ air traffic management (ATM) information and the Portal provides the entire aviation community with a common view of the European ATM network situation.

The ultimate goal is to facilitate decision making for all ATFCM actors by sharing the most up to date view on the Network Operations situation along the ATFCM cycle (plans, events, scenarios, real-time information on flights and measures, etc.).

Select here to open the public access Network operations Portal.

The current European Network Operations Plan can be accessed below:


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