SEEN FRA extended with Bratislava CTA
Starting from 6th of December 2018 the Aircraft Operators are allowed to plan their flights freely across the airspace of 4 states - Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia - without the limitations given by the geographical borders. Since 00:01 a.m. local time Slovakia has opened the airspace for the Free route operations.
LPS SR, the Air Navigation Service Provider of Slovakia, has joined the SEEN FRA (South East Europe Night Free Route Airspace) initiative of 3 ANSPs, namely BULATSA, HUNGAROCONTROL and ROMATSA. SEEN FRA itself is a specific volume of the European airspace where the Aircraft Operators are allowed to file their flight plans without the obligation to follow prescribed ATS routes during the night times from the midnight until 0600 a.m. local time.
The new flight planning rules significantly optimize the flight trajectories not only for the sake of the usage of the shortest connections but also to allow the use of the most effective routings when the reaction to the impacts - like adverse weather avoidance - on the flights is inevitable.
According to the simulations the synergistic effect of all of the improvements has the potential to save daily average 3.200 NM of the total mileage which represents 15 tons of fuel savings and at the end of the day 49 tons less of CO2 emissions.
The positive evolution of the changes in the Central and South-Eastern Europe airspace will continue during the next year. From April 2019 H24 FRA will be implemented within the Slovakian airspace and during summer 2019 the LPS SR will accordingly consider the extension of SEEN FRA availability for a longer part of the day. As of the 7th of November 2019, the 3 countries which started the SEEN FRA initiative (Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania) will extend the availability of cross-border FRA operations for the entire day by bringing into operation the SEE FRA project (South East Europe Free Route Airspace).
The activities related to SEEN FRA/SEE FRA and national FRA projects are in accordance with the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 716/2014 which directs the individual ANSPs to cooperate towards introducing the Free Route Airspace above FL300 (9.000m) throughout Europe by the end of 2021.
The main enabler and driver of the airspace changes at European level is EUROCONTROL, particularly the Network Manager. Thanks to the involvement and good will of all stakeholders, namely EUROCONTROL Member States and EUROCONTROL Agency, the Aircraft Operators will be able to fly on optimised profiles, using less fuel, hence reducing aviation´s environmental footprint.