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Mobility and Transport
News article12 March 2019Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport3 min read

European Commission celebrates outstanding contributions to innovative air traffic management

Madrid, 12 March 2019

Representatives from airports, air navigation service providers, airlines and network management were on stage in Madrid on 12 March to collect their Single European Sky awards. The winners have all made outstanding contributions to the modernisation of air traffic management (ATM), supporting the EU in its mission to create a Single European Sky. The winners included an initiative to promote digitalisation in ATM, airports and air navigation service providers who have worked together to improve predictability, and a recognition to the thousands of controllers, pilots and other staff that keep passengers safe.

Five prizes were awarded by the Director-General of the European Commission's DG Mobility and Transport, Henrik Hololei, during a ceremony at the World ATM Congress in Madrid. The jury selected the winners from 29 submissions involving 88 entities from 28 countries around the world (20 EU countries, 11 non-EU countries and three international organisations).

Commissioner for Transport, Violeta Bulc, praised the innovation and commitment shown by the winners and runners-up: "All of the initiatives nominated are the result of innovative and fruitful collaboration and co-creation between companies and institutions from around Europe. Both the winners and the other nominees have helped make our aviation system safer and more sustainable for our citizens, as well as globally competitive. I would like to thank them for their hard work."

In 2018, the EU airways transported 1 billion passengers and 10.6 million flights. The annual number of passengers has tripled over the last 25 years, creating a bottleneck and delays as ATM capacity cannot currently be scaled up easily or quickly. With congestion increasing, pressure to find new solutions that increase capacity is mounting, and interest in innovative solutions is high.

The 2019 Single European Sky Award-winners are:

20 JULY 2021

Network Performance Award 1

  • South East Common Sky Initiative Free Route Airspace (SECSI) – for extending the application of Free Route Airspace to wider airspace, contributing to increased network performance.

Network Performance Award 2

  • EUROCONTROL Network Manager 4ACC – for a new approach to managing air traffic flows, allowing the shifting of traffic during very busy periods.

Cooperation Award

  • A cooperative project on 'synchronised stakeholder decision on process optimisation at airport level' involving a wide range of airports and ANSPs – for a genuine Single European Sky cooperation project that improves performance and predictability through initial Airport Operations Plans.

Innovation Award

  • Interoperability with the EUROCONTROL Network Manager – for an initiative that promotes digitalisation in ATM, supporting interoperability between the Network Manager and its operational stakeholders.

Excellence Award

Staff delivering the essential services needed to enable capacity and delivery safety – for the hard work of thousands of controllers, pilots and other staff who, through their personal commitment, ensure maximum safety for passengers. They were represented by the International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers' Associations (IFATCA), the International Federation of Air Traffic Safety Electronics Associations (IFATSEA) and European Cockpit Association (ECA).

In addition to these five winners, the jury, comprising experts from within and outside of the European Commission, agreed on six special mentions:

  • TAP Air Portugal for the deployment of SESAR solutions within the TAP fleet;
  • ENAV for implementation of its Security Operational Centre;
  • Skyguide for their service-oriented architecture in ATM Live operations;
  • LFV-Comprehensive AIM Production service for its contribution to civil-military cooperation;
  • AEFMP for their longstanding and effective cooperation platform for European and North African countries;
  • ENAV and the Italian Air Force for their project demonstrating that data-sharing is key to enhancing civil-military interoperability and achieving a sustainable Single European Sky.


The Single European Sky (SES) is the European Commission's drive to modernise Europe's airspace management – it is estimated improvements could save airlines €5 bn each year. Concretely, SES will decrease the impact of aviation on the environment by 10%, triple airspace capacity, cut the cost of ATM management by 50%, and increase safety tenfold.


Publication date
12 March 2019
Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport