In April 2004, EU regulations were adopted creating a Single European Sky (SES). A major element of these regulations is the functional separation of air navigation services from the supervision of these services. An act has been passed assigning responsibility for oversight to the Federal Supervisory Authority for Air Navigation Services.
Objectives of the Single European Sky
The EU has set the following objectives for the Single European Sky (SES) initiative in order to harmonize the provision of air navigation services in Europe:
- harmonize the certification of air navigation service providers in Europe;
- separate the regulatory functions from the provision of air navigation services;
- enhance capacity while maintaining a high level of safety;
- create common airspaces across national boundaries;
- reduce delays / improve punctuality;
- improve the interoperability of air navigation systems;
- closer civil-military cooperation.
The Federal Supervisory Authority for Air Navigation Services as the national supervisory authority
The separation of air navigation services from supervisory functions requires the establishment of national supervisory authorities to oversee air navigation service providers. Thus, on 4 August 2009, an act entered into force establishing the Federal Supervisory Authority for Air Navigation Services.
This agency has taken over responsibility for overseeing air navigation service providers from the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure. One of its main tasks is to ensure that air navigation service providers comply with the provisions applicable to them and, especially, maintain a high standard of safety.
In addition to the certification of air navigation service providers in accordance with coordinated and uniform European requirements, which is necessary to comply with EU legislation, the supervisory function also includes the continuous oversight of all systems, procedures and persons employed by the respective organizations for the provision of air navigation services.
All operating sites of the air navigation service providers to be supervised, for instance at all international and regional airports, are inspected on a regular basis. In addition, it is essential that a comprehensive reporting system be operated in order to ensure that an overview of serious incidents and planned changes to the system of air navigation services is available at all times.
Responsibilities of the Federal Supervisory Authority for Air Navigation Services
The principal responsibilities of the Federal Supervisory Authority for Air Navigation Services are as follows:
- certification of air navigation service providers;
- continuous safety oversight;
- administration of air navigation service licences and authorizations;
- verification of EC declarations of verification of systems (interoperability);
- safety oversight of air navigation service providers (including meteorological services for air navigation);
- enforcing compliance with building restrictions around air traffic control installations;
- supervision of flight inspection services;
- frequency management in the field of air navigation service applications;
- performance planning for air navigation service providers;
- providing support to the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure in setting air traffic control charges;
- establishment of flight procedures;
- prosecution of airspace infringements.