Aviation aims to accelerate sustainable, safe, digital European sky

At the latest SESAR 3 JU programme, SEA Milan Airports, together with the other key members and European representatives, have committed to a new partnership to accelerate a more inclusive, resilient, and sustainable ‘Digital European Sky.’

Aviation aims to accelerate sustainable, safe, digital European sky

On the evening of 6 May 2022 in Brussels, at the Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) 3 JU programme, SEA, the company that manages Milan Airports, together with the other founding members, European institutions representatives, and key stakeholders, signed the commitment to the new partnership that aims to accelerate, through research and innovation, the achievement of a more inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Digital European Sky.

The agreement was signed by SEA’s Chief Operating Officer Alessandro Fidato.

Although officially established in December 2021, this was the first opportunity for the 55 organisations to meet face-to-face and launching the partnership with representatives of the European Commission and Eurocontrol.

This represents a significant step for SEA, which thereby confirms its dedication to achieving a more sustainable air transport system. The Milano Airports have always been at the forefront of innovation and environmental protection issues, as a result of high-level projects aimed at creating technological solutions that will enable the implementation of the transformation towards the so-called Single European Sky. SESAR is, in fact, the Single European Sky air traffic management research project, launched in 1999 by the European Commission with the aim of improving and making air traffic more efficient, competitive, and safe, reducing the fragmentation that follows the boundaries of national states.

In this perspective, SEA has already been working for years on several innovative projects within the SESAR programme. Since 2016 and 2017 SEA has participated in SESAR 1 with three projects. The first is ‘ASMGCS (Advanced Surface Movements Guidance & Control System) level I and II, with an investment of approximately €6 million, the second project is ‘Synchronised stakeholder decision on process optimisation at airport level’ with an investment of approximately €7 million and the third one is ‘AOP Integration – Extended Implementation’ at Milan Malpensa airport with an investment of approximately €500,000.

In order to continue developing the technical solutions outlined in the SESAR research phase, a public-private consortium SESAR 3JU was set up, of which SEA is a founding member together with other European airports, the European Commission, Eurocontrol, Enav, and other European air traffic management bodies, aviation manufacturers and airlines.

SESAR 3JU includes several topics directly relevant to airports with ‘Calls for Projects’, some of which have already been launched or will be launched in the coming months, among them:

  1. Digital ATM – Digitising the entire ATM network (with possibility of extension to terminals)
  2. Integration of drone/unmanned aircraft systems (UAS)
  3. Intermodality (door-to-door movement)
  4. Sustainability (sustainable air operations)
  5. Airport integration – complete integration of airports into the network
  6. Enhancement of the passenger experience through digital technologies.

SEA will participate in several ‘Call for Projects’ with projects dedicated to the improvement of the passengers experience through digital and biometric technologies, to the Integration of drone/unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), to sustainability through the reduction of C02 emissions by using new green fuels and to the airport integration in the network with the extension of the AOP to Milano Linate.

SEA chose to focus on digitalisation, safety, innovation, and environmental sustainability, having started some time ago a process aimed at zero CO2 emissions by 2030, ahead of the targets set by the European airport sector, in addition to being carbon neutral for the last ten years, confirming its commitment to sustainability and in particular to the fight against climate change.

The event coincided with the announcement of the new Executive Director of SEASR 3 JU Andreas Boschen.