New study indicates Europe’s ATM system is
cheaper and more efficient than US system.
BY PHILIP BUTTERWORTH-HAYES
New research and further analysis of existing per- formance data suggests that, contrary to previous
study conclusions, the US air traffic
management (ATM) system is less
cost efficient than that of Europe.
Every few years FAA and Eurocontrol, the European Organization for the
Safety of Air Navigation, sit down together and compare how well their respective ATM systems are performing.
Te next report is scheduled for October. Te most recent study—2015:
Comparison of Air Trafc Manage-ment-Related 2015 Operational Performance: US/Europe—published in
September 2016, reached a similar
conclusion to previous studies.
“Overall, air navigation service pro-
vision is more fragmented in Europe
with more air navigation service pro-
viders (ANSPs) and physical facilities
than in the US. Europe is made up
of individual sovereign states,” the re-
port concluded. “Although the CO-
NUS (continental US) airspace is 10%
smaller than the European airspace, the US controlled
approximately 57% more fights operating under Instru-
ment Flight Rules (IFR) with 24% fewer full time air
trafc controllers than in Europe in 2015. US airspace
density is, on average, higher and airports tend to be no-
tably larger than in Europe.”
European and US airspace management systems difer
widely in many ways, including fnancing, procedures,
technologies and demands on the system. Tis makes
close comparison very difcult.
However, a recent study from Functional Airspace
Block Europe Central (FABEC)—the body responsible