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Mobility and Transport


The States of the North European Functional Airspace Block, NEFAB, implemented Free Route Airspace (FRA) from 12 November 2015. NEFAB FRA initially consists of two volumes - Finland, Estonia and Latvia above FL95 as one - and Norway above FL135 as another. These two volumes connect above FL285 with the already existing FRA in the Danish-Swedish functional airspace block using harmonized flight planning rules.

The connected FRAs of NEFAB and DK/SE FAB offer wider benefits to airspace users enabling them to plan and take the most cost effective routes across a considerable airspace volume. It will save time and money, and lead to benefits for the environment through a lower consumption of fuel.

The North European Free Route Airspace (NEFRA) across DK/SE FAB and NEFAB is implemented in phases. A continuous FRA across the two FABs above FL285 will become unrestricted in summer 2016.

The NEFRA concept will be the basis of future FRA solution across nine states, including DK/SE FAB, NEFAB, UK/IE FAB and Iceland.

Award criteria

  • Contribution to increasing capacity of ATM systems
  • Contribution to increasing safety of ATM systems
  • Contribution to reducing ATM costs
  • Contribution to reducing the impact of air transport on the environment
  • Early implementation


Contribution to increasing capacity of ATM systems

ATM system capacity increased as result of NEFRA implementation since the traffic distributed to a larger area and cross border FRA does not require traffic to route over defined often congested points at borders between States/FIRs.

Contribution to increasing safety of ATM systems

ATM system Safety improvement is envisaged as traffic will not follow predefined routes, thus reducing the number of congested conflict points at the FIR boundaries.

Contribution to reducing ATM costs

The cost impact for the airspace users is positive, as users are able to plan and execute flights in accordance with user preferred trajectories (business trajectories). Users may plan and execute flights taking into account winds, en-route costs, shortest flight distances, thus optimizing flight trajectories and reducing costs.

Contribution to reducing the impact of air transport on the environment

The positive impact on the environment is obvious as the NEFRA implementation provides for shorter (direct) routings thus reducing emissions.

Early implementation ("First mover")

NEFRA free route airspace has been implemented already in November 2015 connecting NEFAB and DK-SE FAB free route airspaces to one entity with common flight planning rules, while the Pilot Common Project regulation (716/2014) requires implementation as late as January 2022.

Potential to be replicated over the ATM Network

NEFRA concept has already been replicated to the Borealis FRA initiative to implement a FRA across 9 States (3 FABs + Iceland) by 2021. Network manager has in several occasions mentioned that the NEFRA project could be used as a good example in respective projects.

Innovative aspects

Innovative solutions have been implemented regarding new agreed concept in the interface of the States FRA volumes removing requirement to cross State and/or FAB borders over pre-defined points. Harmonised flight planning rules have been implemented, which all flights intending to fly in FRA are eligible to use, even when departing/arriving Aerodromes are below FRA. In practice this means that FRA rules can be used in the free route network below the FRA from the end of standard departure routes (SIDs) to the start of standard arrival routes (STARs).

Promoting partnership

The Implementation of FRA across area covering six states and two FABs require common solutions between ANSP ATM systems and States legal and regulatory aspects. Common concept requires common understanding, common FPL area definition, exchange of flight plan data and updates, data communication between ATM systems, integration with and cooperation with Network Manager, all of which require and promote good partnership and cooperation at all levels (states, ANSPs, NSAs and Network Manager).

Contribution to the change management

The NEFRA has a positive element here as implementation of a Multistate FRA requires harmonized change management process and documentation, hence a Multistate FRA is enabling the building of a common platform for change management.

Promoting SES and SESAR beyond the Union's boundaries

NEFRA solutions promote the SESAR and SES by going beyond the FAB perspective by implementing seamless FRA for benefit of airspace users across FABs borders. NEFRA solutions will also implement FRA in NAT region (Bodø Oceanic) and later with Iceland.

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