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Six European states join moves towards "single sky"

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Six European states join moves towards "single sky"


(BRUSSELS) - Five European Union nations plus Switzerland on Thursday signed a deal to jointly manage their air space in a crucial new step towards creating a single European sky.

Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Switzerland signed an accord to create the "Functional Airspace Block-Europe Central", an area at the core of Europe with one of the world's highest traffic densities and closely interwoven civil and military routes.

Most of the large European airports and major civil and military airways are located in this area, the European Commission said, describing the so-called FABEC deal as "a key step in achieving the Single European Sky".

A single sky would see air control managed according to traffic flows rather than borders, enabling shorter flights, a 10 percent cut in fuel and savings of two to three billion euros a year, according to the Commission.

The several functional airspace blocks, or "FABs", would reduce fragmentation of airspace while increasing safety and reducing impact on the environment.

Thursday's agreement follow a Britain-Ireland FAB, a Denmark-Sweden FAB and Blue Med gathering Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Malta along with associates Tunisia, Egypt and Albania. Other European Union states are expected to sign similar agreements in the next two years.

Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas said the FABs would "satisfy the growing capacity requirements of all airspace users with a minimum of delays by managing air traffic more dynamically. At the same time, safety standards and overall efficiency will be enhanced."

Single European Sky

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