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Air Traffic Management and the Green Deal

The SESAR Joint Undertaking (SESAR JU)

The SESAR Joint Undertaking (SESAR JU) is a European public-private partnership set up to accelerate the delivery of the Digital European Sky. To do so, it is developing cuttingedge technological solutions to make Europe the most efficient and environmentally-friendly sky to fly for conventional aircraft, drones, air taxis and vehicles flying at higher altitudes. Building on the work of the first SESAR JU, this SESAR JU has a 10-year mandate (2021-2031), to complete the work outlined in its Multiannual Work Programme with support from the Horizon Europe programme. The European Green Deal, launched by the European Commission in December 2019, aims to create the world’s first climate-neutral bloc by 2050. This ambitious target calls for deep-rooted change across the aviation sector, and places significantly stronger focus on the environmental impact of flying. Multiple technology pathways are required, one of which is the digital transformation of air traffic management, where SESAR research and innovation plays a central role. The SESAR JU is integral to several EU policy areas, including the Single European Sky, of which SESAR is the technological pillar, the sustainable and smart mobility strategy, digital transformation of transport modes for connected and automated mobility as part of Europe Fit for the Digital Age, the European Green Deal and the Fit for 55 package. The JU also creates synergies with several other work areas. These include efforts to cut CO2 and non-CO2 aircraft emissions with the Clean Aviation Joint Undertaking, advancing space-based solutions for European air traffic management with the European Union Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA), developing multimodal solutions for rail and aviation with Europe’s Rail Joint Undertaking, and collaborating with the European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency on using the Connecting Europe Facility for Digital Sky Demonstrators.

© European Union, 2024

“Innovation thrives on collaboration – it’s the catalyst that propels us beyond boundaries, generating novel ideas and amplifying impact. In a world where challenges such as climate change demand collective action, collaboration becomes not just a choice but a necessity.”

Andreas Boschen, Executive director, SESAR Joint Undertaking

Air traffic management (ATM) has an important contribution to make towards the overall effort supporting climate-neutral aviation. In the SESAR Joint Undertaking (SESAR JU), we have united the entire ATM community – airports, air navigation service providers, civil and military airspace users, industry, professional staff organisationsand academia – to ensure a comprehensive response. Together, we have set ourselves the ambition of making Europe the most efficient and environmentally-friendly sky to fly in the world. This brochure provides insights into our work in this area with a collection of 10 projects from our Digital European Sky research and innovation programme. Grouped under our programme flagship ‘Aviation Green Deal’, these projects are harnessing the latest digital technologies to address both the CO2 and non-CO2 impacts of aviation – a critical dual priority for a sustainable tomorrow. The projects take a holistic look at ATM, addressing operations across all phases of flight – from taxiing and take-off to cruising and preparing to land – targeting environmental inefficiencies throughout. Our projects are contributing to the aviation sector’s climate-neutrality commitment as well as to the ambitions set for aviation in the European Green Deal, sustainable and smart mobility strategy, European Climate Law, and Fit for 55 plan for a green transition. Funded within the framework of Horizon Europe and the Connecting Europe Facility, the projects captured in this brochure represent together an innovation pipeline spanning exploratory research, industrial research and demonstrators, ensuring that great ideas are nurtured and developed, and ultimately transformed into tangible solutions for market uptake. Over the next 24 to 36 months, we look forward to seeing the results that will unfold and the transformative effect that these projects will have on the aviation community at large. No single entity can navigate the complexities of our time alone. By leveraging the power of collaboration, we can address formidable challenges, usher in transformative change and create a sustainable future for all. Enjoy the read!